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Almost half of young adults contacted by impersonator – study

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Almost half of young adults contacted by impersonator – study

Nearly half (49%) of 18- to 24-year-olds say they have been contacted by an impersonator, according to an anti-fraud campaign.

And of those in this age group who were targeted, more than half (52%) said they had shared personal information or made a payment as a result of the request, UK Finance’s Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign found.

Impersonation fraud is when a criminal contacts someone pretending to be a trusted person or organization.

Scams can be very sophisticated and often begin with attempts to trick people into revealing personal and financial information. Criminals then use this information to make the scam look real.

Figures from UK Finance show that in 2022, 45,367 cases of impersonation fraud were reported in the UK, costing £177.6m.

Criminals can target certain events, such as the end of the tax year, alimony payments or the coronavirus crisis, to make what they say seem authentic.

Young adults aged 18 to 24 are also the most confident of all age groups surveyed in their ability to spot fraud, with nine in 10 (91%) saying they are confident they will be able to spot a fraudulent request for personal information online.

This level of trust can put them at risk, as only 27% say they will always take steps to check that an organization or person can be trusted when asked for personal information out of the blue.

More than 60% of people over the age of 55 say they always take steps to check for unexpected requests, according to a survey of 2,000 people by OnePoll in August.

Ben Donaldson, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “Criminals who commit fraud are ready to target us all and they don’t need a lot of information to create an identity online.

“They can then use that identity to steal our money and finance other crimes, causing enormous damage to both individuals and society.

“I am very concerned about the number of young adults giving their personal information to criminals who continue to cause so much harm.

“Please follow the advice of Take Five to Stop Fraud and keep your data safe.”

To help people stay safe, the advice from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign is:

stop yourself – Take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or information that could protect you.

A challenge “Could it be fake?” It is okay to decline, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush you or panic you.

Protect – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have been scammed and report it to Action Fraud.

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