- There were 45,367 cases of impersonation scams in 2022 costing at total of £177.6m, new UK Finance figures show.
- Only 51 per cent of people always check whether a request for money or personal information is legitimate.
- Younger adults are particularly at risk, with only 38 per cent of 18-34 year olds always checking.
- The Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign urges people to take a moment to stop and think before parting with their money or information.
During Take Five Week (17-21 April), the public is being warned to beware of impersonation scams as new figures show there were 45,367 cases of this type of fraud in 2022, with losses totalling £177.6m.
Impersonation scams take place when a criminal contacts you pretending to be a trusted organisation such as a bank, the police, a delivery or utility company, or even a friend or family member. The scams can be very sophisticated and often start with a call, text, email or direct message with an urgent request for money or personal and financial information.
Research from the Take Five campaign found that only 51 per cent of people always check if a request for money or personal information is legitimate before responding.
However, the survey also found that of those that had been approached, an alarming one in five (21 per cent) of people who had responded to communications from a range of organisations (including delivery companies, banks, online retailers, energy companies and the police) said that they later believed to be fraudulent.
The research found that younger adults are particularly at risk. Just 38 per cent of 18-34 year olds always check a request for their money or information is genuine – the lowest of any age group. This age group was also the most likely (39 per cent) to believe that they had been contacted by a criminal after they had responded to an initial request for information from what they thought was a trusted organisation.
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance said:
“We receive genuine communication from trusted organisations on a daily basis, meaning it’s not always easy for us to spot when an approach for information is in fact from a criminal.
“Anyone can be caught out by a scam in the heat of the moment and criminals are constantly adapting their tactics to appear legitimate. It has never been more important to take steps to check for genuine communication and follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and to stop, challenge and protect.”
Celebrity impressionist Jess Robinson, known for her work appearances on Spitting Image, Channel 4’s The Last Leg and Britain’s Got Talent, has joined forces with Take Five to show just how convincing criminals can be when targeting people with scams. Jess says:
“We all think we’d spot the signs of a criminal trying to scam us but fraudsters have improved their tricks and are rolling out increasingly sophisticated scams. So even someone like me, who makes a living from impersonations, can’t always spot a fraudulent request to share personal or financial information. That’s why it’s so important that we verify all requests directly on a known phone number or in person, even if it looks like it’s from an authentic organisation or someone you know. Remember, your bank or the police will never ask you to transfer money to a safe account or ask for your full PIN, password or passcode.”
Take Five’s research shows people are most likely to check if an email address is legitimate (67 per cent), whether there are spelling and grammar mistakes (59 per cent) or the website address is legitimate (57 per cent). However, criminals are turning to more sophisticated ways to steal people’s money and personal information.
Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.
- STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
- CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
- PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.
Notes to Editors
- OnePoll interviewed 2,000 UK adults in an online survey from 6th February to 7th February 2023.
- Take Five to Stop Fraud is a national campaign that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud.
- UK Finance is the collective voice for the banking and finance industry. Representing more than 300 firms across the industry, we act to enhance competitiveness, support customers and facilitate innovation.
- Contact Information:
- UK Finance Press Office
- 020 7416 6750