Impersonation scams are one of the most successful ways fraudsters steal money from their victims. This type of scam has proven to be exponentially successful as both business employees and individuals are scammed into sending billions of dollars every year. Here are a few examples of impersonation scams and what to look out for:
Impersonation via Email or Text
Buying a house or paying a vendor? Any message requests to provide personal info, transfer funds, buy gift cards, or send a wire are risky. Fraudsters are good at crafting legitimate looking requests that usually come with a sense of urgency. The best way to verify the request is valid is to go straight to the source. Instead of verifying through email, call the requestor at a trusted phone number. Ask yourself – does this make sense? Does something seem inconsistent? Once funds are sent, it is often impossible to get them back. Spending that extra time verifying the request is valid could save you thousands.
Impersonation via Social Media
Much too often people lose money by sending funds to someone they knew, or thought they knew, who had reached out to them on social media asking for help. Fraudsters do a little bit of studying to identify friends and relatives, create a fake social media account pretending to be them or hijack their legitimate one, and then reach out asking for money. Because you want to help your friend or relative through the difficult situation they are in (that the fraudster made up) – you send it. Later you find out that the real person was completely oblivious to the request. Prevent this situation by reaching out to the person directly by phone before sending the funds.
Impersonation via Phone
Fraudsters are no stranger to calling people and pretending to be someone else. When you receive a suspicious call, take a moment to assess who the caller says they are and what they are requesting. One example of this scam is where a fraudster pretends to be from victim’s bank reporting suspicious activity or saying their account has been compromised. Even though the caller ID might show the banks phone number, the fraudster could have spoofed this. Providing information to this caller could compromise your account or unintentionally provide the fraudster with personally identifiable information that would give them the opportunity to impersonate you. Pause and verify by reviewing activity on your account independently or contacting your bank at a phone number you trust.