Scams to keep an eye on

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This is our latest article in a series putting the spotlight on Information Security. Here, Sarah Coles shares some typical scams and gives 5 top tips for avoiding them.

Fraudsters are constantly evolving their techniques to access your personal information and money - even exploiting the cost of living crisis by preying on money worries, and taking advantage of the Queen’s death to lure targets into giving their information. 

Recent events scams

The cost of living crisis has sparked a rise in fake refund scams, including impersonations from energy providers, government rebates, price comparison phone calls and HRMC tax refunds.

Within days of the Queen’s death, a scam email was circulating. It invited recipients to ‘add memos onto the memory board for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’ [1], linking to a fake Microsoft login page stealing their credentials.  

Payment diversion scams

As supply chains grow, the odds of receiving a phishing email from a trusted third party increases. If your supplier suffers a business email compromise (BEC), an unauthorised party could gain access to their legitimate account and contact you to update payment details or withdraw money. Without proper controls and checks in place, you may be left significantly out of pocket.

Text and vishing scams

Evolving technology is making scams more sophisticated. You might receive a call from a scammer notifying you of suspicious activity on your account or device, including background noise mimicking a call centre to make it seem authentic. They may even transfer you between ‘different departments’.

Scammers can also make text messages appear from a different number – designed to make you quickly follow the link instead of considering whether it’s genuine.

Sextortion Scams

Sextortion scams aim to coerce someone into paying a ransom by threatening disclosure of sexual information or images. The emails can seem credible by including personal information such as the individual’s password, but are often taken from previous data breaches. The scammer doesn’t know if you have a webcam, which sites you’ve visited, and hasn’t accessed your device. They are simply hoping enough people respond to make the scam profitable.

Fake Invoices

Invoice fraud happens when scammers send an invoice or bill for fake goods, usually saying the payment is overdue or your credit rating will suffer if you don’t pay up. They can also include a fake customer service number requesting your bank details to send a refund, but instead stealing money from your account. You’ve probably received a fake invoice in the past impersonating PayPal, Amazon prime, Royal Mail or DPD.

Cryptocurrency scam

Websites promoting cryptocurrency giveaway scams have increased by more than 300% in the first half 2022 [2]. This typically includes live streams of celebrities such as Elon Musk from seemingly legitimate hacked accounts, often appearing on YouTube ad breaks.

5 top tips for avoiding scams

1) Be sceptical - If something arrives out of the blue or it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

2) Contact companies directly if a communication doesn’t appear genuine – Use contact details stored in your phone or through Google, rather than any numbers supplied in the communication.

3) Check payment details before transferring money to a new account – If a past payment method needs updating – such a new payment link or account name – this could be a scam, even if the email is from a genuine contact. Call them to check before making payment.

4) Be wary of requests for personal information – Genuine companies never ask for passwords, pins or bank details via text or email.

5) Act quickly if you think you’ve fallen for a scam – Contact the relevant provider immediately, such as your bank or IT department.

If you believe your personal data has been misused or you’re a victim of nuisance texts, calls or emails, contact the ICO.  

You can also register your telephone number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) the UK’s official ‘Do Not Call’ register allowing people and businesses to opt out of unsolicited live sales and marketing calls.




This article is for financial professionals only. Any information contained within is of a general nature and should not be construed as a form of personal recommendation or financial advice. Nor is the information to be considered an offer or solicitation to deal in any financial instrument or to engage in any investment service or activity.

Parmenion accepts no duty of care or liability for loss arising from any person acting, or refraining from acting, as a result of any information contained within this article. All investment carries risk. The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up and investors may get back less than they put in. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.  

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