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Under 25s Most Likely to be Taken in by Impersonation Scams

APP Fraud

Data revealed by UK Finance shows that almost half of 18–24-year-olds
have been targeted by impersonation scammers.

While Gen Z may be known for being the first generation of digital natives, it does not appear that they are immune to cons, as data from UK Finance shows that over half of targeted 18–24-year-olds have shared personal information with impersonation scammers.

UK Finance is the trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector. As part of its Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, it has published data on types of scams affecting various demographics nationwide.

According to research, almost half of UK 18–24-year-olds (49%) have been contacted by impersonation scammers; these criminals pose as trusted organisations such as banks, building societies or utilities companies to convince victims to share personal information connected with their bank accounts or card details. Sometimes, they even pose as friends or loved ones in a scam known as ‘dear mum and dad’.

Of those targeted, 52% said they had shared information with the scammer or made a payment due to the contact. In worrying contrast, the research also found that over 90% of Gen Z respondents believed they could spot an illegitimate request for personal information or bank details.

Impersonation scams can take many forms, such as text messages from delivery companies claiming a fee is due before they can deliver your parcel, emails from “the government” offering discounted energy bills, or phone calls from your bank stating your account has been suspended due to “unusual activity.”

These scams often contain hallmarks, such as spelling mistakes, strange website addresses, or claims from companies you don’t have accounts with. While impersonation scams can often be obvious, some can be quite sophisticated and difficult to detect. It is important to remain vigilant and never provide personal information or click on links in messages you’re not expecting.

If you receive a suspicious message, contact the company directly using a known phone number or website address to verify its authenticity. Remember, it’s always better to be cautious than to fall victim to an impersonation scam.

Below are some examples of other impersonation scams:

  • A fraudster posing as a tradesman, someone from a utility company or an official from HMRC – they contact you by email, phone or text message, saying you have an outstanding bill and asking for payment. It’s not just individuals that are targeted; businesses can be too.
  • Scammers can pretend to be your friends and family, claiming to have lost or broken their phone, so you’re not suspicious about the change of number. They may ask for money urgently to help with an unexpected bill, overseas travel or a last-minute flight change.
  • An online advert pops up on social media for a good investment opportunity with a well-known bank – but in fact, the company is a clone. If you click on the advert, you are taken to a fake website with fake social media and contact details. The scammers then get your contact details, start a conversation, go through the motions of setting up an investment account and ask you to transfer money into it.
  • You are dealing with a solicitor during the completion of a house purchase, and, at some point during the email exchange, a fraudster intercepts the messages, takes over the conversation and directs the transfer of your funds to their account. You believe you are still dealing with your solicitor and that the house purchase will go ahead when, in fact, you have been the victim of fraud. This is known a conveyancing scam.

A common tactic used by impersonation scammers is to coach the victim to willingly transfer money out of their bank account and into one in the control of the scammer, which they generally will do as they believe that the request is legitimate. This is known as Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, head to our blog to read more examples of this kind of fraud.

Often, after the money has been moved into the scammers’ account, it is then moved on (usually overseas) and proves very difficult to trace or recover, leaving victims out of pocket and concerned that there is no way to get the money back. The specialist team at TLW Solicitors work daily with clients who have lost money to APP scams and we have a track record of successfully securing compensation.

While the money lost may prove difficult to recover from the scammers, there are avenues for compensation. If an impersonation scammer has duped you, you should first inform Action Fraud (the National Cyber Crime Reporting Centre) and your bank.

In some cases, this will be sufficient to trigger a refund from your bank, but in others, the bank will refuse on the grounds that the responsibility for the loss lies with the customer. In this case, a claim can be taken to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for an independent investigation. FOS is the UK Government-backed body responsible for investigating and adjudicating disputes between financial institutions (such as banks) and their customers.

Banks in the UK have a responsibility to detect, prevent and stop scams on their customers’ accounts, and recent FOS investigations have found that banks are failing in this responsibility, resulting in customer losses. TLW Solicitors has helped many clients successfully take their complaints to FOS and secure significant compensation.

Sarah Spruce, Head of the APP Fraud team at TLW Solicitors commented on the data released by UK Finance:

“This data is proof that, no matter how confident you might be that you can spot a scam, the scammers are often more sophisticated than you might think, and they are not fussy about who they target. This is why, even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed about what has happened, you should contact my team for a no-obligation discussion to review your options and explore whether we can help you with a ‘no win, no fee claim’. We are already helping many people in a similar situation recover the compensation they deserve and in lots of cases, helping to get their lives back on track.”

We have a specialist APP Fraud team that deals with scam claims, including taking complaints to FOS.

We understand the time limits and processes involved, and we can deal with complex legal arguments that might arise. We work on a no-win-no-fee basis and can offer you a no-obligation assessment of your case.

Please call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete one of the online forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible, as strict time limits can apply.
Minimum case values apply.

Meet Our Team

Meet Sarah, who heads up our experienced Authorised Push Payment Fraud Claims team.

Sarah and her colleagues are on hand to help with your claim.