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5 Cyber Scams to Watch Out For

5 Cyber Scams to Watch Out For

Scams have always been around. But with all our technological advances and less face-to-face interactions, it’s been easier for criminals to target those who may feel they are in vulnerable situations to take advantage of them.

And we don’t see scams going away. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2021 Internet Crime Report both cybercrime and the amount of money lost to cybercrime rose.

Scammers will take advantage in any way possible, but there are five common scams that are pursued. Let what these are below and how you can avoid getting scammed.

Romance Scams

Between the pandemic, the growing amount of dating apps, and even social media, romance scams have been on the rise targeting the lonely and vulnerable. According to the FBI, $547MM in losses was due to romance scams, which they say likely isn’t even accurate because oftentimes victims are ashamed to report their losses.

How do these scams work? Criminals create fake online identities looking to gain affection and build relationships quickly with others. They manipulate victims by coming off genuine and caring to build trust and then ask for money. Many scammers state they work outside the U.S. to avoid in-person meet-ups and to have money sent overseas.

Cryptocurrency Scams

While complaints didn’t surpass the previous year, in 2021 there was almost a seven-fold loss in cryptocurrency scams coming to around $1.6 billion.

As cryptocurrency is becoming more common, it’s opened more opportunities to scammers, especially regarding investment scams. In addition, ATMs are popping up where you can purchase cryptocurrency, but these don’t have strong regulations and often have irreversible purchases.

Another form of cryptocurrency fraud is impersonating support. Scammers will be alerted to an issue asking for access to their crypto wallet.

Many romance scam victims also get pulled into this scam through pressure to invest in cryptocurrency opportunities.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams have been a common scam and is usually the most recognized. These occur when a criminal tries to persuade you to give them personal information either through email, over the phone, through a website, or even a text message.

They often ask for you to “verify” your information. In addition to asking, especially over the phone, any links they send to click can be riddled with malware.

Tech Support Scams

Another common cyber scam is tech support. In 2021, this scam accounted for almost $350B in losses, an increase of 130% since 2020.

These occur when criminals impersonate support employees for computer companies, banks, or credit card companies, seeking information from you. They of course can be from any company.

Senior Scams

Unfortunately, seniors (those over 60) are a prime target for cyber criminals and account for the most amount of complaints and losses. This is because of the ever-changing technology and the amount of comfort along with not understanding certain tech updates to keep information secure.

How to Avoid Scams

  • Never give out any personal information, especially ANY financial information.
  • If you think someone is impersonating an employee, reach out to the company directly and find out. Ask for the person’s name if on the phone.
  • Don’t ever send money to someone you haven’t verified, especially internationally.
  • Make sure your antivirus and anti-malware programs are up to date.
  • Use multi factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Stay informed on what the latest scams are.

At Home State Bank, we take your financial security seriously and provide all the safeguards to keep you and your finances safe from cyber criminals. If you feel you’ve been a victim of cyber scams, contact your personal banker for how to report it and start the process to get your money back.

Sources:

https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2021_IC3Report.pdf

file:///Users/katieholl/Downloads/Scam%20Data.pdf

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