Impersonation scams

Bank impersonation scams

In this example, let's pretend that a fraudster has called you, claiming to be from your bank. The number showing up on your phone matches the phone number that's listed on your bank's website – but that's because the fraudster has used tech to impersonate your bank's real phone number. This is to help convince you the call is legitimate.

The fraudster will commonly say that your account has been compromised and that you need to move your money into a 'safe' account.

In some cases, they can even compromise your card details before they call, make a small payment, and then ask you to confirm if this was you. Of course, they know it wasn't you – it's a trick to gain your trust.

What you should do

Hang up!

Remember, your bank will never ask you to move money to a 'safe' account.

Nor will they ask you to share your bank account or personal security details over the phone. 

Family or friends impersonation scams

Scammers may send you messages claiming to be someone you know and will try to convince you to transfer them money. They could also send you links or attachments that could infect your device or steal personal information.

One very common SMS or messaging trick is when scammers impersonate a family member – usually a son or daughter – asking for a loan. They supposedly need the loan because they've lost their phone (which explains why the message is from an unknown number) and can no longer access their banking apps to pay an urgent bill. 

What you should do 

Be cautious of messages from unknown contacts. See if you can verify the person's identity by contacting them in a different way. For example, if your friend messages you and you're unsure it's them, call them on the number you have saved, or message them via their social media.

Online shopping and telephone company scams

Fraudsters could contact you claiming to be one of these companies – often under the guise of an incorrect charge or an issue with the Wi-Fi in your area.

In order to complete a refund or fix the issue, the fraudster will often get you to approve payments through an app or ask you to download remote-access software, so they can access your banking app.

What you should do 

Never feel pressured to download anything to your phone. If you're unsure if the call is real, hang up and call the company on a number you trust.