Lloyds Bank warns customers about ‘nasty’ impersonation scam – ‘be vigilant!’

Scammers have used platforms such as Instagram for their fraud tactics, which are causing people to lose hundreds of pounds. Impersonation scams usually occur when fraudsters put forward a random request for cash on a social media platform. As part of the scam, the criminal will pretend to be a family member or friend using a different phone, claiming theirs has been lost or damaged.

Other examples of scams which are under Lloyds’ radar include romance, investment and purchase scams.

New research into impersonation scams on Instagram by the bank found that cases rose by 155 percent in the 12 months to March 2022, compared to the year prior.

This increase is compared with a fall in other types of scams carried out via Facebook and Snapchat.

As a result, analysts believe Instagram may be the new home to the many criminals carrying out this type of fraud.

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As part of its warning, Lloyds shared the story of one customer who had to deal with an impersonation scam on Instagram.

The woman, named Michelle, was reached out by someone via the social media platform who pretended to be a volunteer at her local church.

The bank said: “The message said that the church was trying to set up a charity abroad and needed some money to help with the set up.

“Michelle believed that the message was genuine as a link was provided to a page which had photos of people who worked at her church on it.”

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She was then asked to transfer money to the current account of someone she was told worked for the UK-based charity.

Lloyds added: “Michelle made three payments, totalling £500, before the church was alerted to the scam and got in touch with parishioners to let them know.”

In light of this example, the bank is encouraging people to be wary of any requests to move money over to other peoples’ accounts when messaged randomly on social media.

As well as this, Lloyds is cautioning people on how they interact with social media and not giving away any private information or login details.

Furthermore, the bank shared that sharing or liking certain posts online, or filling out forms, is a good way to be spotted by fraudsters who can use that information to scam you.

Finally, the bank reminded its customers it will notify them if they believe a scam is taking place.

Recent research carried out by Lloyds found that one in ten Britons would ignore a warning about payee details not matching.

Liz Ziegler, the Fraud Prevention director at Lloyds Bank, emphasised the danger posed by social media on peoples’ finances.

Ms Ziegler explained: “Social media is now intimately woven into our lives – it’s how we stay in touch with people, see what’s in the news, treat ourselves to something new and keep up with influencers.

“Sophisticated organised criminal gangs know this, and are ready to adapt their deceptive methods instantly, lurking around every virtual corner to try and part you from your hard earned cash.

“These nasty impersonation scams target people’s natural desire to help family and friends as, instead of impersonating the police or the taxman, fraudsters are creeping closer to home and pretending to be those dearest to you.

“When using social media we should all remain guarded, be vigilant against fraud attempts, and remember that if something seems fishy – you’re probably right.”

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