“I’m just calling from the customer care team about your life insurance. Is now a good time to talk?”
Those were the words spoken to me over a crackling phone call first thing on Monday morning.
After I informed the man that I do not have life insurance, he hung up.
Clues adding up
Red flag number one was the fact I was being called from a mobile number.
Red flag number two was that I continued to hear a dial tone for a few moments after I answered and before my “caller” responded.
Red flag number three was their failure to introduce themselves or the company they were supposedly calling from.
PPI and a recent car accident
Being phoned, out of the blue, by people trying to get me to claim something or sue someone is not new.
During the peak of the payment protection insurance refund saga, I was fielding several calls a month about being eligible to claim PPI – which I was not.
Or calls from a person informing me that I was recently in a car accident and may be eligible to claim compensation.
But life insurance is something new, at least for me.
And I can only think that [insert appropriate word] fraudsters are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to prey on people’s fears and vulnerability.
As a journalist who has covered financial services for several years, I have seen and reported on scams of all shapes and sizes.
But this feels like a new low.
It was depressing, but not suprising, when International Adviser reported last week that coronavirus-related fraud had hit nearly £1m ($1.16m, €1.09m).
For the financial advisers out there, helping their clients through potentially traumatic times, I encourage you to add ‘life insurance’ to the long list of scams you already warn your clients about.
Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of fraud, should get in touch with the UK fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre Action Fraud.