Life & Culture

Money Maven: Be on guard for the scammers

There is an army of conmen out there trying to defraud you, so it’s essential you’re aware of their tricks


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Fraudsters stole £177.6 million in more than 45,000 cases of impersonation scams in 2022, according to UK Finance.

Its new research, part of its Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, revealed while over half of people surveyed always check whether a request for money or personal information is legitimate, this drops to just 38 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds.

In addition, 71 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds surveyed said they had been contacted by an impersonation scammer, with 73 per cent of those targeted subsequently persuaded to either send money or share personal information.

Impersonation scams take place when a criminal contacts you pretending to be a trusted organisation, such as a bank or utility company, or a friend or family member, asking for money.

The campaign calls on people to keep themselves safe through: Stop — think before you part with the money; Challenge — could the request be fake? Protect — contact your bank immediately if you think you have become victim fraud.

But impersonation fraud is not the only way scammers can get your money. Another rising area is romance scams, which involves a criminal befriending their victim on an online dating site before asking for money.

UK Finance says £16.6 million was stolen through these scams in the first half of 2022, with nearly 50 per cent sending between £100 and £1,000, and 8 per cent sending more than £1,000.

Other versions of up-front money request scams include asking for money before you can claim a prize or service, buying goods that never arrive or buying “resale” tickets for sold-out events.

Some scammers prefer to steal your identity rather than asking for money. This is why it is important to limit the personal information you post online. The first you’ll know if someone steals your identity is when you start receiving bills for things you didn’t purchase, unexplained transactions appear in your account or you receive unasked for credit cards for example.

To stop yourself becoming a victim of a scam:
Never give out your bank or personal details to a random caller. If they claim to be from one of the financial organisations you deal with, call them back on the number you usually use, not one they give you.

Be suspicious of any request for money from someone you have only just met, be it online or in person.

Request copies of your credit score on a regular basis to check for applications you don’t recognise.

If the offer on an item or event ticket seems to be too good to be true it probably is and you will never receive the item you paid for.

If you become a victim of identity theft, let all the financial institutions you deal with know. Also contact CIFAS ( and ask to be put on its Protective Register for two years, which costs £25.

This will highlight your details have been compromised to any of its members, so extra checks can be carried out on any application for a product or service.

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