Three Out of Ten People Would Fall for Impersonation Scams


Phony police calls in the US have been telling people they need to pay a fine for missing jury duty. In the UK the scams take a different form: the bogus police are asking for the victims' help, or are advising the victims on how to avoid being trapped by fraud.

30% of people in the UK would voluntarily transfer money out of their bank account at the request of someone posing as law enforcement, a survey by the Nationwide Building Society has found. Additionally, 29% of those surveyed said they would be willing to withdraw their own cash from their bank and give it to the Police or the National Crime Agency (NCA) to check for fingerprints.

The survey also shows that that young people aged 16-24 are four times more likely to fall for such scams than people who are over 55 years old. Nearly half (48%) of the younger crowd would move their money into another account if they were told they were at risk of being a victim of fraud. Nationwide stresses the fact that neither the Police nor the NCA would ever ask a member of the public to do these things.

“It might be surprising that many people believe it is credible that the Police would request them to use their own money to help with an investigation, but people do fall for this scam. It shows that the key to thwarting the scam artists and fraudsters is education. We’d urge people to learn as much as they can about the tricks that scammers use,” said Stuart Skinner, Nationwide’s Director of Fraud. “Our branches are running fraud awareness events and anyone can go along for free to find out how to avoid becoming a victim and what they should look out for. The dates of the events vary from branch to branch, so call in to a local branch to find out more.”

These scams take advantage of victims’ helpfulness and sense of civic duty to trick people into handing over their money. Education, as Mr. Skinner suggests, is the primary defense against these criminals. New-school security awareness training can give your employees a sense of vigilance that will help them recognize these scams in the real world.

Action Fraud has the story:

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