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What are screen sharing scams   and how to avoid them

Since July 2020, the FCA have received just over 2,000 reports relating to screen sharing scams. Over £25 million was lost to these scams between 1st January 2021 and 31st March 2022, with victims ranging from 18 years old to over 70.

These scams have been on the rise since the pandemic as more and more processes are completed online.

What is a screen sharing scam?

Screen sharing scams usually relate to some kind of banking process or investment opportunity as scammers use it as a way to get your bank details.

Scammers convince you to download, or use, a software which enables you to share your phone or computer screen with them – such as Microsoft Teams, TeamViewer, or Zoom. They ask you to do this while you are logged into your bank account. Alternatively, they may ask you to download a software, like AnyDesk, that allows them to access your computer remotely.

How do screen sharing scams work?

There are many ways that screen sharing scams can happen, however the most common tactic scammers use is a fake investment opportunity.

They are likely to advertise investment opportunities on websites and/or social media. These adverts are most commonly promoting cryptocurrency investments or pension opportunities.

Once you click on the advert and fill in a few personal details, you will get a call from someone pretending to be a financial advisor offering to complete the first investment for you to show you how it works. They will ask you to download a genuine piece of software, so it doesn’t trigger any alarm bells, that will give them remote access to your device. Then they will ask you to log in to your bank account in order for them to make the investment on your behalf.

Once they have access to your device, they can take any information they want. They will steal your bank log-in details, account numbers, personal information, passwords, and anything else that’s valuable to them. While having remote access they can even make bank transfers and apply for loans in your name.

How to protect yourself from screen sharing scams

According to a survey conducted by the FCA, 85% of people would not see a request by an ‘investment firm’ to download a piece of software as a warning sign of a scam. However, genuine banks, financial advisors, brokers, lenders, or investment firms would never ask you to download a piece of software which enables them to see your computer screen or have remote access to your device.

Here’s how to protect yourself from these scams:

Check the FCA register

The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has a Financial Services Register which is free and easy for anyone to use. This register lists every single lender, broker, and advisor that is registered with and authorised by the FCA.

Dealing with an authorised firm means you have protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and the Financial Ombudsman Service if things go wrong. If you deal with an unauthorised investment firm then you will not be protected by these services and you will struggle to get your money back if you invest in a fake product or have your money stolen.

Check the FCA warning list

The FCA also has a ‘warning list’ that you can check before deciding whether to invest with a firm. This list lets you enter what type of opportunity you are considering, either an investment or pension, what product it relates to (i.e. cryptocurrencies), and where you heard about it (i.e. a social media advert). You can also type in the name of the firm that has contacted you.

If the firm is known to the FCA as suspicious then it will come up on this list. If it does come up then you should avoid all contact and dealings with them.

Never share your screen

Quite simply, you should never share your phone or computer screen or give remote access to somebody that you don’t know in person. You should certainly never let anyone, even people you know, see your bank log-in details and account information. Anyone who asks you to do this trying to steal your details and money.

Avoid adverts for investment opportunities

If you are looking for ways to invest your savings then you should contact a firm that is listed on the FCA register. Always make sure you do your research before contacting the  firm by checking with the FCA and by checking reviews etc.

Never click on adverts shown on websites or social media which are advertising investment or pension opportunities. If you are interested in something that you see advertised then conduct your own independent research on the product or company and go to their website through the FCA register.

Watch out for phishing emails and phone calls

Just like adverts, you should also avoid all emails, phone calls, and social media messages which are advertising investment opportunities. Again, conduct your own research and only use the contact information for firms which is given on the FCA register.


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