There has been another surge in impersonation scams, with cases more than doubling in the first half of 2021.

New figures from UK Finance report 33,115 cases, with criminals stealing £129.4 million through this type of fraud alone. In comparison to the same period in 2020, the figures have rose by 18,168 cases and £71.5 million.

In addition, research for the national ‘Take Five to Stop Fraud’ campaign has found that nearly one in five (19 per cent) of people feel uncomfortable saying ‘no’ to a request for personal information from a stranger via text or email. This figure rises to 23 per cent when it comes to such requests on a phone call.

Overall, 92 per cent of people admitted to saying ‘yes’ because they don’t want to appear rude.

What to watch out for

Any suspicious or unexpected phone calls, texts or emails.

Criminals pretend to be from a trusted organisation such as a bank, the police or the government department or service provider.

The criminals trick victims into transferring money using a range of cover stories, including that you need to protect your account from fraud, a fine or tax needs to be paid, or an erroneous refund must be returned.

How to avoid falling for these scams

  • Stop: Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or personal information.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It is okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. If you are suspicious, hang up and contact the person or company via a phone number you trust and have sourced yourself.

What action should you take if you think you have fallen for a scam?

Contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.

Further information and support

  • If you receive a text message you believe to be fraudulent, forward the suspicious text to 7726.
  • If you think you may have handed over your debit card, banking, or personal details to scammers, please let us know immediately.