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Impersonation of officials

It is carried out by people who call or send messages pretending to be someone from a trusted institution like a bank or HMRC. The numbers have increased in the past six months where bogus representatives claiming to be from a bank or an employee of the Royal Mail seek personal details. 

They want the customer to verify their details to get a grant or refund, pay a fee, or postal delivery. The regulatory agencies are urging people to stop being influenced by such calls. 

Instead, they need to challenge such requests, protect themselves, and inform the authorised organisation – the bank and the police- immediately about the scam involving money transfers or loss of identity. 

How Does It Happen?

The criminals use a range of stories to reach their target, which involves offering help to protect your account from fraud, getting tax refunds, paying fines, or receiving some money that the legal authorities have allotted you as a refund. 

Sometimes, they ask you to return the money you received in your account, which was sent by mistake. For example, they once called a bank customer and requested her to help investigate bank fraud by withdrawing money and sending the cash through the post to the given address. 

The victim was asked not to inform anyone about the secret investigation, and she acted as the scammers instructed her. 

One of the victims' weaknesses was that they were uncomfortable saying no to the person seeking personal information, and they could not reject a call even from a stranger or refuse requests by mail or text. 

About 90 per cent of the surveyed could not say "no" because they did not want to appear rude. On the other hand, criminals pretend to be someone they are not, are smart and use various tricks to appear reliable. 

How To Protect Yourself?

  • People who get such calls can delay the conversation or request the caller to call some other time or ask them to wait for some reason instead of giving them away. Especially if you are asked to provide details or pay, you can refuse by telling them you do not have the details. 

  • One should always remember that only bogus sellers try to pressure the customers. 

  • Fraudsters send phishing texts or messages, downloading viruses into the device and extracting information from the stored data. 

  • Do not assume people who message or call you or those who have left a voicemail are the same person they say they are.

  • Never make payments through cash or bank transfers. 

  • Check all the numbers on registered websites, and do not call numbers or links given by suspicious mail. 

How To Spot It?

  • The trickster's spelling, graphic design, or grammar is poor. They may use odd English terms or have spelling mistakes in their messages like they use the term "spe11ing" to evade spam filters.

  • If the scammers know the email address and do not use your name anywhere in the communication, for example - the message begins with "To our valued ..." or "Dear  ..."

  • The site where the user is redirected may not look proper or have an accurate address. Such sites may use a short term for the actual address or use irrelevant phrases. You should know that the original sites never use web-based addresses to communicate.

  • They may use the logo of reputable banks. However, one should be careful not to fill in the banking details by clicking on the links provided in emails or other messages if the communication wants you to transfer funds from your bank account to another. 

  • In that case, it can be bogus because authentic financial organisations never ask customers to transfer funds from one to another. 

  • Be careful when you click on the links in the emails and wait before responding to any message. Always step back while talking to a friend or anyone, and pay close attention to the warnings if the call is related to bank transactions.

Date Published: Sep 12, 2023

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

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