Brits’ politeness causes spike in scams

Laura Suter
13 September 2021

•           A quarter of Brits are too polite to say no to scam phone calls
•           Impersonation scams have risen 122% in the past year
•           £129.4m was stolen in impersonation scams in the first half of 2021

Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, comments on the latest scam figures from UK Finance: 

“Brits are known for being a very polite nation, and while that’s admirable when it comes to queuing or table manners, that politeness is now allowing criminals to steal millions of pounds from our bank accounts. The incidences of impersonation scams, where fraudsters pose as banks, police or other authorities, has risen by 122% in the past year, with £129.4m stolen in the first half of this year alone. 

“The rise is because Brits are too polite to say ‘no’, with research from UK Finance showing more than 90% of people said ‘yes’ to people on the phone because they don’t want to seem rude. A quarter of those approached for personal information on the phone feel uncomfortable rejecting people, making them putty in scammers’ hands.

“Criminals are very sophisticated these days, with technology allowing them to impersonate your bank or police very convincingly, meaning even the shrewdest person can be caught out and lose their life savings. 

“The best thing you can do if you get a call out of the blue claiming to be from the bank or police is to hang up and call back on a mobile using the number on the back of your card. It’s unlikely that the few minutes this takes will have a big impact on any genuine fraud happening on your account, and it could save you from being scammed for all you’re worth.”

Laura Suter
Head of Personal Finance

Laura Suter is head of personal finance at AJ Bell. She is a multi-award winning former financial journalist, having specialised in investments. Laura joined AJ Bell from the Daily Telegraph, where she was investment editor. She has previously worked for adviser publications Money Marketing and Money Management, and has worked for an investment publication in New York. She has a degree in Journalism Studies from University of Sheffield.

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