Spotting fraud and scams

Impersonation scams

What are impersonation scams?

Impersonation scams happen when a fraudster contacts you pretending to be from your bank, the police, or another trusted organisation to convince you to send them money.

They’ll create a sense of urgency, a reason to panic to stop you from thinking straight. They may tell you that you’ve been a victim of an attempted fraud or had an overpayment that needs to be returned. They may even give you details of a false spend on your account which you don’t recognise, or that your account is no longer secure and that you need to take urgent action. They’ll insist that, in order to keep your money safe or prevent further losses, you need to move your money to a ‘safe’ or newly opened account.

Many fraudsters use something called ‘spoofing’. This is where someone deliberately falsifies how their contact number appears on the caller ID, messenger name, or email address to disguise their identity and try to convince you that they’re someone else. 

Common impersonation scams

Fraudsters will use a variety of methods to contact you, so always be cautious and check that the request is genuine. See below for some examples of impersonation methods. 

Telephone, text, or email 

This is when someone contacts you claiming to be someone they’re not, for example your bank, Amazon, HMRC, a parcel company, or even the police. Fraudsters want you to act urgently and try to pressure you into clicking a link, revealing your security details, or to transfer or withdraw your money.  

Social media

Fraudsters send messages or make contact through messaging services like WhatsApp, direct messages, Facebook and any social media platform. They may pretend to be a friend or loved one in need of help.

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