Common Fraud Tactics in 2022
Scamming is an activity for those without morals. As the world evolves and continues to develop, fraudsters and scammers unfortunately make sure to keep up. With every new invention and advancement, there are new ways to utilize these tools to take advantage of people and profit from them. Though it is unfortunate and sometimes hard for well-meaning people to imagine that people can actually think this way, the sad reality is that it’s happening, and will only continue to happen. The only way to protect yourself, family, business and hard-earned cash is to stay on top of the latest fraud tactics and fraud prevention so that you can stay one step ahead of the “bad guys.”
Subscription Renewal Scams
Since many people utilize similar products such as anti-virus software or other common services, some hackers will send fake emails saying that you must renew your subscription and pay again to continue to receive the service.
These scammers can also use fake official government websites, requesting that you renew your passport or visa for a fee.
Fraud prevention tip: If you receive any message about renewing a subscription or official document, check your account and/or call the company or office directly to verify that this is actually the case. Do not submit your information or a payment without verifying this information.
Romantic or Friendship Scams
Scammers have entered the chat. Using dating sites and apps, social networks and chat rooms, it has become more and more popular for fraudulent individuals to create fake dating profiles or pretend to be a friend or love interest. They build a relationship with the victim, just to eventually ask for favors or money, usually under the guise of a tragedy or tough situation. Some of us can spot these fakers a mile away, but for the kind-hearted and trusting souls this can be a tough call, especially if they begin to feel connected to the person behind the keyboard. Examples of this include soliciting medical treatments for a sick family member or requesting money for travel.
Fraud prevention tip: If a stranger or someone you’ve only met online asks for money, do not give it to them.
Being unemployed can be extremely stressful, and as bills pile up with no income, the pressure to find a new job can be overwhelming. Scammers have capitalized off of this by creating fake companies in order to receive personal information such as social security numbers and bank information, or demand processing or service fees to apply.
Fraud prevention tip: Be wary of third party websites such as Craigslist when searching for employment. Do not give your social security number or any processing fee to a third party site in the application process. If you have concerns, contact the company directly to verify their hiring process. Calling a company directly regarding a job opportunity can also boost your resume higher in the pile, as you come across as a more serious candidate.
Travel Accommodation Booking Fraud & Housing Scams
Online booking sites have unfortunately been utilized as an easy score for unsuspecting travelers. While some websites are perfectly legitimate and useful for your travel needs, a number of bogus third-party websites exist which pose as legitimate travel accommodation booking operators.
This type of fraud is especially prevalent during the holiday season, when more people who don’t usually travel are apt to look for out-of-state accommodations. These sites will advertise a place to stay and receive payment, the victim only realizing they have been duped when they arrive at their destination and there is no reservation.
Another area of fraud can be housing. These scammers have found their way on housing websites advertising apartments, rooms for rent, condos, or even houses. They will often pose as an out-of-town landlord, unable to physically be there to do a walk-through, but will suggest that you drive by to check the place out. They can ask for down payments or application fees by the way of money orders or Western Union, so that the money cannot be refuted later by your bank. Often times these listings will also be cheaper than other listings, advertising a great deal that you can’t pass up.
Fraud prevention tip: If a deal, travel accommodation or apartment for rent seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Compare deals to other websites or comparable purchases to see if this offer is in-range with what else is out there.
Fraud prevention tip: Wired money sent through Western Union or a money order is most likely unable to be retrieved or traced, even if it is determined later to be fraudulent. If anyone (online or over the phone) asks for a payment sent through in this way, a red flag should go up and you should investigate the situation further.
A phishing scam is when the fraudster pretends to be someone else such as your bank, insurance company, utility company, PayPal, Amazon, or even your boss, in order to receive payments or other personal information. These scams often come through as emails or messages on LinkedIn. The message will ask you to visit a website and log in with your account details. The site often looks just like the actual company’s website, but is really a fake site set up by criminals to get your information or payments.
Scammers have now also infiltrated LinkedIn, often impersonating one’s boss to advise the employee to wire money to someone outside of the company. These messages usually have a sense of urgency about them, that a contract could be lost or customer relationship destroyed if the money isn’t sent.
Fraud prevention tip: If you receive an email asking for log-in information or other information, check to see if the email is any different from your other emails from that company. This could include a different font being used, or a different email layout. Don’t be afraid to call the company directly to ensure that the message is really coming from the actual company, and it is not a phishing scam.
Pharming is when hackers redirect the traffic from a genuine website to another, such as a fake ecommerce or banking site.
This is a difficult scam to protect yourself from as although you’ve entered the right address to bring you to a particular site, you’re still sent to a fake one to try to get your personal information.
Fraud prevention tip: Make sure any websites you use are secure. Reliable websites start with HTTPS, not HTTP.
Fraud prevention tip: If at any point when navigating through a website anything seems off or different, exit the site immediately. Do not submit any personal information if it seems inappropriate or different from a process that you usually go through. If you believe you’ve been redirected to a different website than where you started, do not hesitate to call the company directly to verify this.
Moving away from the internet, some scammers find it easier to prey on victims over the phone. They will call from an unknown number, posing as an employee from your bank or cable company, asking for personal information or bank account numbers.
Fraud prevention tip: If you receive a phone call from a person asking for personal information or account numbers, hang up and call the company directly on their advertised phone line to verify you are speaking with the actual company and not a scammer.
An effective way to scam can be to exploit people by using fear tactics. Emails or pop-up ads are popular ways for these scams to come through. Some examples of fear tactics can include:
- “This is a warning from the local tax authority. Complete this action now or face a fine or court action.”
- “You will lose all your data and photos, and only our software can help fix it.”
- “Your bank account has been breached. Log-in using this link with your username and password to verify your identity.”
Fraud prevention tip: Take the time to research and call companies directly to verify the validity of all warnings and messages requesting information. If you are still unsure about an email or request, don’t hesitate to contact other family members or friends to help you navigate through the situation.
Virtual Kidnapping Scams
This one is horrifying and brings fear exploitation to a new level. Scammers have upped their game, to the point of attempting to convince parents and grandparents that a loved one is being kidnapped and held for ransom, demanding that they need to send thousands of dollars in order for them to be released unharmed. These messages can be in email form, but are also often over the phone, duping victims by imitating their loved one’s voice and crying to induce emotion.
Fraud prevention tip: If a family member contacts you to say they are kidnapped and need ransom money, call and email them directly to make sure this is actually the case, especially if anything seems off (they are using terminology or phrases they don’t usually do, or are in a situation or place that they are not usually in). Many times the perpetrator will say something like “don’t tell so-and-so,” in attempts to get you to send the money before you realize that your family member is actually okay. Contact anyone and everyone you need to, in order to determine the validity of this threat. Call 911 immediately if you believe a family member to be in real danger.
General Fraud Prevention
The first step in fraud prevention is reading articles like this one, and being aware and wary of the methods that scammers use to obtain your information. Another general way of protecting yourself or your business from fraud is by installing effective virus protection and identity protection software that can help to block out at least some malicious threats. Here is where ComRes can help! Call us today at 954-462-9600 or fill out our online form to find out the best ways to protect your data and sensitive information.