Financial advisers are being warned they could be targets for money launderers after 3,000 blank passports were stolen from the Manchester area last month.
Figures released earlier this year found identity fraud is up 66% on last year making it one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK.
In line with anti-money laundering regulations introduced in December 2007, IFAs must verify their clients’ identities. However, with fake documents including passports sold for as little as £250 and without the use of electronic identity checks, there is no reliable procedure to determine an authentic document from a fraudulent one.
Malcolm York, sales and marketing director at IDYourClient.com, warns: “IFAs may be unwittingly helping to launder money and if found to be doing so, will face hefty fines, risk losing their business or even worse, going to prison.”
He says advisers may also be putting their business' reputation on the line and damaging years of quality services to honest clients.
This increased risk to advisers has prompted IDYourClient.com to launch a new website and additional services to help advisers verify the authenticity of documents.
The website checks information from a broad range of reliable data including the DVLA, Passport Office and Electoral Role.
It will also introduce new services to verify client details against the Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) Register and Sanctions Register as part of the standard package.
These new functions will identify anyone who may be at a higher risk of fraudulent activity and give solicitors 100% compliance with the latest AML regulations and avoid risks of heavy penalties, the company says.IFAonline
DB and a lack of alignment
Encouraging better use of tech
Win one of three £20 Amazon vouchers
Vanguard's multi-asset range