Fake HSBC Clone Draws Warning from City Regulator

Fraudsters are trying to scam consumers out of money by pretending to represent the UK banking giant HSBC, the FCA has said in a warning notice today. The copycat scam is the latest in a line of clone firm warnings issued by the City watchdog in recent months.

A post on the regulator’s website says that the “clone firm” scammers are using the HSBC brand as a way to get people to hand over details or money.

The FCA says: “Fraudsters are using the details of firms we authorise to try to convince people that they work for a genuine, authorised firm…Fraudsters usually use this tactic when contacting people out of the blue, so you should be especially wary if you have been cold called.”

The City watchdog added the scammers are using a fake website as part of the scam though they are not authorized or registered with the FCA and have “no association” with the real HSBC.

The inclusion of HSBC brings to light one of many tactics used by cloning entities – the misuse of the name of international financial services giants. HSBC is not the first banking giant to have clones. Earlier last year, global regulators warned against clones of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo & Co, and Citigroup, as well as many financial services providers.

Cloned firms are a common fraud in which companies mask their fraudulent activities by using details the same as or similar to those of an authorized entity to give the appearance of trustworthiness and legitimacy.

HSBC has its own troubles

HSBC has been recently in the news after it began its previously-announced job cuts in London, but some industry sources said they were a little harsher than previously expected. The British bank, which is conducting a cost-cutting drive aimed at protecting its dividends, has been laying off senior people in a bid to cut costs.

HSBC has unexpectedly parted ways with its CEO John Flint in August, less than two years after his appointment. The lender was vague over the cause of its former executive chief, saying only that the decision was “mutual” and that its board believed a change was needed to meet the challenges it faced.

The cuts anyways follow a turbulent period for HSBC, where the former CEO rebuked top managers earlier this year for missing revenue and cost targets. The investment bank, which gets most of its business in Asia, also suffered an exodus of high-profile executives after the meltdown hit the business in financial markets, which put further pressure on the CEO to rein in costs.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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