Coronavirus (Covid-19): Information for consumers
The Financial Services Authority (“Authority”) is closely monitoring the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation and how it is impacting the financial system.
We have identified some sensible precautions consumers can take to help protect their finances. We recommend you read our advice below and be aware of any possible impact on your finances.
As you would expect, we are in contact with regulated firms and we expect them to be looking at their business continuity plans.
General information for consumers is available in the consumer area of the Authority's website.
Be Scam Aware
There is already some evidence that scams are on the increase during the current coronavirus outbreak and we advised you to be extra vigilant at this time.
Watch out for scams related to coronavirus (Covid-19) and for an increase in traditional scams. These scams take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pension transfers, or high-return investment opportunities, including investments in cryptoassets.
Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will try many things and they will target the vulnerable. Beware of investments that appear to be too good be true. If you decide to invest in something offering a high return or in a cryptoasset, you should be prepared to lose all your money.
To help protect yourself:
- Reject offers that come out of the blue.
- Beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online.
- Check who you are dealing with; are they regulated and reputable?
- Do not click links or open emails from senders you don't already know.
- Avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision.
- If you are contacted unexpectedly by someone saying they are from your product provider, call back on a number already known to you for that provider.
- If you are contacted by someone purporting to be from the fraud team at your bank, again be very cautious and check they are who they say they are.
- Do not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/ pensions/ investment details).
If you suspect a scam:
- Contact the police straight away to report the scam.
- If you have made a payment contact your bank or credit card company.
- If you have provided personal details, change your passwords and tell the providers of your affected accounts.
- Monitor your finances for any suspicious activity.
Treating customers fairly
We are engaged with firms to understand the potential impacts on consumers of coronavirus and how they are addressing their customers’ needs. Firms are expected to treat customers fairly.
We are aware some consumers, both individuals and businesses, may be put under additional financial pressure, so if you are experiencing payment difficulties, we recommend you contact your credit provider or mortgage lender as soon as possible and explain your situation.
Access to cash
As part of their plans in the Isle of Man banks are taking additional measures to ensure that there is no disruption to cash supplies and that ATMs remain fully operational. Some banks are also increasing withdrawal limits to enable customers to withdraw higher daily amounts from ATMs.
At this time it is important that you continue to make sure you have adequate insurance and that renewals are dealt with in good time. For individuals this includes mandatory insurances, such as car insurance, and other significant insurances such as house insurance and life insurance. For businesses this includes premises insurance, public liability insurance and other standard insurances.
You should be aware that insurance cover differs from policy to policy. If you are unsure whether your policy covers you for the outbreak, you should contact your provider directly. Insurance providers should be able to clearly highlight any exclusions that may exist.
Consumers specifically concerned about their travel insurance can take a number of steps in advance to find out if they are covered:
- Check your travel insurance wording carefully before you travel.
- Read the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (link is external) before you leave.
- Take some extra time to make sure the policy you intend to buy covers all your needs.
- Contact your insurer directly before you travel if you are in doubt.
Checking whether someone is regulated and other queries
If you are looking want to check that a firm is regulated by the Authority please check our public register.
If you want to check that a firm is authorised in the United Kingdom please check the UK Financial Services Register (link is external).
For all other queries including impacts of the coronavirus, please contact your product provider, their details can be found on your documentation. Please be aware that they might be busier than normal and it might therefore take longer than normal to get through to them at this time.