Watch Out For These Common Imposter Scams

Common Imposter Scams

As the internet evolves, scammers are evolving as well. Until recently, many online accounts, even bank accounts, had relatively weak security measures.

Back then, many users preferred convenience over security. Now, most users value security over convenience.

They are willing to take a few extra login steps if that’s what it takes to secure their accounts. So, many fraudsters have switched tactics, and emotion-based imposter scams are increasingly common.

Although there are many common imposter scams, pretty much all of them involve one of the emotional states discussed below. If people are more aware of the tactics these scammers often use, it’s much easier to avoid them.

If you are unable to avoid the scam, a New York personal injury attorney can provide key assistance, either by taking legal action against the responsible party or directing you to a trusted government agency that’s there to help.


As mentioned, most online accounts now have much more robust security measures. Social media accounts are a notable exception.

Since these accounts usually do not contain as much personal information, they are relatively easy to hack. The settings portion of these accounts, which usually contain personal information and even bank account information, usually has stronger security measures.

As a result, pretty much anyone with some education or training, some persistence, and some time on their hands can access things like Facebook friends and Twitter histories without much of a problem.

Then, fake messages appear. Usually, the sender is a friend or relative who claims s/he desperately needs money.

Most people naturally want to help other people.

In 2020, the year of the coronavirus lockdowns when many people had to make do with less, charitable giving reached an all-time high of $470 billion in the U.S. alone.

This impulse is even stronger when the person who supposedly needs money is a friend or relative.

Unfortunately, it’s best to assume that the sender is an imposter. Reaching out to the individual personally might be inconvenient or uncomfortable. That’s also the only effective way to beat this scam.


This value is very important to many people. They hate to see wasted or unnecessary efforts. Scammers know this, which is why financial imposter scams are increasingly common.

These scams have been around since the pre-internet era. Frequently, someone stole outgoing mail and obtained a credit card number. Then, they contacted the person, got the PIN, and started spending.

Incidentally, these scammers usually start small. They buy a soda or a candy bar, and if the account owner doesn’t notice the charge, move on to larger things.

The internet has made these scammers bigger. Today, the most common efficiency imposter scam is a person posing as a bank officer who claims s/he needs to verify your account or check on some suspicious activities.

A malware scam is an offshoot of the efficiency scams. A “computer technician” claims s/he has identified malware on your system and needs your help to clear it.

These scammers often charge negligible fees to avoid arousing suspicions. If 10,000 people pay $3 each, that’s quite a bit of money.


The tried-and-true “Nigerian” scam is so common that it has an official FBI designation. A 419 scam, which refers to the applicable Nigerian criminal law section, solicits money to allow a troubled prince to relocate or thaw some frozen assets. This scam is still quite active, which means people still fall for it.

The 419 scam now has a modern twist, Fake government agents often “verify” this information. But the scam still primarily plays on people’s greed.

A related scam is the refund imposter scam. The caller or emailer claims you are entitled to a rebate, refund, or other financial windfall.

If you do not remember purchasing the item at issue or using the service, the refund is too good to be true. No one gets something for nothing.


A friendly call from the IRS or other taxing authority is enough to scare almost anyone. Fear usually restricts logical thought patterns. People who are scared usually are not thinking clearly. Scammers know this, which is why they bring up the big guns at the outset.

Most people do not fall for threats. They know that the IRS does not work that way. Frequently, they claim there is an issue with a return or refund.

The IRS never reached out to people via the telephone or internet. They always use the dreaded and feared “Dear Taxpayer” letters.

If you have questions or concerns about any of these things, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in New York from Napoli Shkolnik PLLC.