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Top 5 most common scams of 2023 in the UK to watch out for

Cristina POPOV

October 19, 2023

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Top 5 most common scams of 2023 in the UK to watch out for

From social media messages and surprising phone calls to enticing investment or romance proposals, scammers will try everything to get to your money.

Learn about five of the most common types of scams according to Which?, a non-profit organization for protecting consumers.

1.      Phishing scams

Emails or texts impersonating a genuine company or government department. The messages often prompt you to click a link to visit a website under the guise of something being wrong, such as a subscription expiring, or to secure your account after a fraud attempt. For example, Netflix was impersonated 625 times so far this year, according to Action Fraud report.

2. Investment scams

These scams involve fraudsters trying to persuade you into signing up to investment' opportunities' with the promise of huge returns. Data from UK Finance shows £114m was lost to authorized push payment investment scams (where the victim is tricked into sending money to a criminal) in 2022.

Before investing money, check if the company is listed on the Financial Conduct Authority's register.

3. Vishing scams

It's a fraud that takes place over the phone. As with phishing, these scams often involve fraudsters impersonating a company to steal your personal or financial details. For example, a fraudster calls you impersonating a staff member from your bank or Paypal (Action Fraud received 275 reports of this particular scam). The caller may already have some of your details from a previous data breach. Often, the scammer will tell you that something is wrong with your account and suggest you move money to a 'safe' account or give them remote access to your device so they can make the transfer. The scam can be so sophisticated and hard to spot as some fraudsters even send spoof 'verification' text messages.

4.      Romance scams

They typically begin on dating sites or apps with a seemingly passionate connection for weeks or months. Once the scammer has groomed their victim, they will start asking them for money or convincing them to invest, donate, or support fake charities.

Figures from UK Finance show that £31m was lost to romance scams in 2022, but the true amount is likely much higher as victims may feel too embarrassed to report the scam.

5.      Shopping scams

The latest UK Finance figures show purchase scams – where you pay for an item you never receive – were the most common form of 'authorized' payment scam in 2022, with more than 117,000 reports. For example, Which?, reported on an online fake car dealership scam offering a tempting deal on a used car via a Facebook ad.

What makes scammers credible?

Scammers' credibility often hinges on the meticulous use of personal data they've garnered about their targets. They use personal information they've found online about people, often from breaches. This makes their tricks feel real and specific to the person they're trying to fool. When they mix true details with their lies, it's hard to tell they're not genuine.

You can check out right now what they can find about you with the Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection tool. It scans millions of websites and monitors the underground networks. You will see all the bits of information about you that ended up on the Internet in legal/ illegal data collection or as a result of a breach. Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection tells you what information was exposed, how risky this is for you, and how to secure your online accounts and digital identity.

Read more about our identity protection and privacy solutions here.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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