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calendar icon07 Sep 2023

Over half of young adults targeted by scammers tricked into sharing personal info

Under 25s are more likely than other age groups to be tricked by criminals and fall for impersonation scams, new research has found.

A poll by UK Finance found 18-24 year olds are most likely to be targeted in impersonation scams. They are also most likely to be persuaded to hand over personal or financial information. Of those targeted, over half (52%) said they’d shared personal information or made a payment as the result of an impersonation scam.

What’s an impersonation scam?

With this type of scam, a criminal contacts you pretending to be a person or organisation you trust with the aim of stealing your money.

A typical impersonation scam

  • Someone tries to trick you into giving away personal or financial information.
  • If they get this information, they then impersonate a person or organisation you trust. The fact they know your personal details helps to make them more convincing.
  • They then try to steal your money.

How common are these scams?

  • Nearly half (49%) of 18-24 year olds said they had been contacted by an impersonation scammer.
  • In comparison, a third (33%) of those aged over 55 said they’d been targeted.

Over-confidence may be putting young adults at risk

People aged 18-24 were the most confident they would be able to spot a scam, with 91% saying they’d recognise a dodgy request for information.

But this level of confidence could be putting young adults at risk, as only around a quarter (27%) said they take steps to check if a request is genuine. This compares to 60% of over 55s.

Millions stolen

In 2022, there were over 45,000 impersonation scams in the UK costing £177.6m.

Incredibly persuasive

TikTok magician Ben Hanlin has joined forces with UK Finance, as part of its Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign, to show just how convincing criminals can be. He said:

“Criminals can be incredibly persuasive with the tricks they use, making it hard to see through their illusions. Always remember to challenge requests to share personal or financial information, as sometimes sharing the simplest of information can lead to losing life-changing sums of money.”

Take Five to Stop Fraud

The message of the campaign is:

STOP: take a moment to stop and think before parting with personal information or money.

CHALLENGE: it’s fine to reject, refuse or ignore requests – only scammers will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT: tell your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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