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How To Safeguard Your Account Information From Imposter Scams

Have you been getting many phone calls from strangers lately? Are you receiving text messages asking for your immediate attention?

Chances are, imposter scams are targeting you. Worse, falling for one of these attempts can throw your security and finances into disarray. Here’s a brief rundown on how imposter scams operate and what you can do to reduce your risk of fraud.

What’s an Imposter Scam?

An imposter is someone who pretends to be someone else. An imposter scam is when someone impersonates an established authority with the intent of stealing private information.

Scammers will try to gain your trust or attention by pretending to be something you know. Thieves will impersonate many different identities, the most common being:

  • Government officials
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Representatives from your financial institution
  • Order fulfillment agents from Amazon or delivery companies
  • Family members or acquaintances

Imposter scams can be very effective against people because they cause targets to depend more on their emotions when making decisions. Imposters want you to lower your guard, so it is easier to surrender private information or make a transaction.

How Imposter Scams Spread

Imposter scams take many different forms. Two of the most common forms include vishing and smishing. Vishing is scamming over the phone, while smishing utilizes messages through texting or social media platforms.

No matter the method, imposter scams have common traits. Their messaging will include claims that they are a familiar entity followed by a request for information or to perform a specific transaction.

The gist of these conversations can be broken down into several themes. They include:

  • Claiming you’ve won a contest or sweepstakes
  • Threatening you’ve been put under investigation or are charged with a crime
  • Asking to verify information or authorize a purchase
  • Warning that your device has been hacked or infected with spyware
  • Pleading to assist with a financial hardship or investment opportunity

For phone calls, imposters will instill a sense of urgency to get you to take action. They may claim you will lose something, be arrested, or miss a deal. From there, they may ask for private information, such as your banking information, email, or credit card number. They might even instruct you to complete a transaction, such as buying gift cards or completing a wire transfer.

For texts or direct messaging, an imposter scam has additional layers. For instance, you might receive a text message claiming that an Amazon order has been completed, and you need to log in to confirm the purchase. The message may include an official-looking link that mimics an Amazon login page, where you will be prompted to enter your credentials or other sensitive information.

Imposter scams can also use Internet technology to add another dimension of believability. As part of their ruse, scammers may want you to visit a spoofed website that looks legitimate, down to the graphics and even the URL.

Why Imposter Scams Are Dangerous

As mentioned earlier, imposter scams are effective because of their emotional appeals. Scammers are adept at making you feel a specific way, hoping you’ll do what they ask or believe their threats. Depending on the context, you may feel compelled to take action or feel pity in the face of a scam attempt.

Technology makes improvements constantly, which can be used to both help and harm. Scammers use the latest technological developments to make their stories more believable. New advances have been developed that can:

  • Bypass caller ID and make spoofed numbers appear from legitimate institutions
  • Create fake URLs that still have encrypted connections and low-level security certificates (marked as “https://”)
  • Clone voices of celebrities, public figures, and even relatives using machine learning and AI technology
  • Scrape social media to create fake profiles of loved ones, friends, coworkers, and classmates

Given today’s digital landscape, it is no wonder that imposter scams are very likely to succeed. As such, it is crucial to remain vigilant so you don’t lose access to your accounts or money.

Fighting back Against Imposter Scams

Despite the challenges, you do have the means to fight imposter scams. First, brush up on the fundamentals of protecting your information and finances:

Always be skeptical of requests or threats. Scammers hate questions or conversations that go on for too long. An imposter’s scheme is more likely to unravel if you stall, ask questions, or repeatedly refuse to take action.

Verify or be aware of the source of the claim. Government entities and corporations have set procedures that all their employees must follow. For example, the IRS and other government agencies will almost always try to contact you through mail before trying any other form of communication. Legitimate businesses will never ask for login credentials or payment information unprompted. If you’re in doubt, call or email an establishment directly to verify any presumed requests for information or compliance.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication, where available. Many digital platforms recommend or have already required multi-factor authentication as part of the login process. Enabling this feature where able adds another layer of security. If someone calls or messages you for a verification code, you already know you are being scammed (this is also your cue to update your passwords).

Get comfortable with saying “No.” Even if scammers have access to technology that makes their jobs easier, they can never have power over you if you never surrender it. Be ready to shut down requests, block numbers, and block users. Brush up on your knowledge of identifying fake emails and websites, too.

When protecting your financial information, First Florida is committed to keeping you SAFE. Visit our Scam and Fraud Education page for the latest information and additional tips on keeping your information secure.


A new streamlined FFIS page will be launched soon.

In the meantime, to access your accounts, visit

or call (800) 766-4328, x8806.