Wilby warns customers of fraudulent spoofed calls

Company was unable to confirm how many people were affected.

And old-fashioned telephone

Wilby Insurance Brokers has revealed that it has been a victim of phone spoofing.

The company took to Twitter late on Friday afternoon (1 November) to warn members of the public.

A since-deleted tweet read: “We have received reports that our main office phone number may be being spoofed to make outbound calls.

“Whilst these calls appear to be from our number, they are being made by a third party illegally and not being made by a Wilby team member or from our phone systems.”

Richard Blackburn, managing director at Wilby, assured Insurance Age that the situation has now been resolved.

A spokesperson for parent company PIB commented: “Only a small number of queries have been received at our offices and as many of the spoofed calls were silent, we cannot confirm if the calls were impersonating a representative of Wilby or even targeting customers.

“Unfortunately, even in this day and age, it is easy to impersonate a legitimate business telephone number – for example, by dubious accident claim firms or actors. There have been no further enquiries or complaints since Friday.”

The company was unable to confirm how many spoof calls were made in total.

Jason Ozin, group information security officer at PIB, Wilby’s parent company, explained the situation to Insurance Age: “The call looked like it came from Wilby because the published Wilby number was used as the caller line identification header.”

“This highlights the ease with which anyone can spoof the number of a legitimate company. In short, the number a recipient sees displayed on their phone should not necessarily be believed.”

Ofcom advises the public not to rely on caller ID as proof that a caller is genuine.

The regulator has also recommended that people avoid giving out personal information over any inbound calls that they receive.

Ozin said that Ofcom and telecom companies should being do more to help tackle phone spoofing.  

Wilby’s spoofed calls follow a recent spate of ghost broking and cloned brokers in the insurance industry.

The FCA has issued a warning of cloned insurance firms every month since May 2019, with Broker Insurance Services most recently affected in October 2019.

This year has also seen heavy convictions handed down to those found guilty of ghost broking.

In February 2019, an individual was sentenced to two years in jail for setting up fake insurance companies.

Insurance Age has since consulted industry experts on how to prevent cases of ghost broking.

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