There are many positives we can reflect on when it comes to the increasing cyber presence in our everyday lives – we can keep in contact with our loved ones much easier, create and view entertainment much more easily, and overall have a much easier, automated lifestyle. However, there are risks when it comes to the expanding digital presence in everyday life – cybercriminals are becoming more adept at scamming members of the general public on a massive scale. A leading criminal lawyer in Melbourne found that cyber scams were on the rise this year, and common cyber hacks were becoming far more sophisticated. Here are 10 cyber scams you need to know about this year.
Facebook Marketplace Scams
Now that many people are using second-hand selling platforms such as Depop, Vinted and Facebook Marketplace, scammers have also found that they can use these platforms to steal from victims. By not sending the item that has been bought, they can scam people out of money without facing too much scrutiny. Always be careful when you’re buying items from second-hand platforms, and if you’re picking something up in person, make sure to meet in a public place and take someone with you.
Fake Discount Emails
Cyber scammers are very clever, and will not stop at taking advantage of everyone’s financial situation in order to steal money from struggling people. During the cost of living crisis, fake discount emails on everything from bills to everyday items have been circulating through many people’s inboxes. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is – and make sure to keep in mind that a genuine offer would not ask for your bank details.
Tax Refund Scam
Cybercriminals can replicate real organisations’ emails to the point where it can be almost indistinguishable. Cyber hackers have even been successfully replicating organisations such as the HMRC to scam people, asking for bank details with the promise of providing a tax return. Professional scammers are good at knowing what is happening and making their scams more likely to get a catch, for example, promising tax returns due to the recent spike of people working from home. Make sure to be careful with your personal details, and validate any email by visiting the actual website, and not clicking on any links the email gives you.
Apps such as Just Giving and Go Fund Me have now made it easier than ever before to give money to charity, and choose where your money goes if you want to donate to charity. This has made it much easier for people to raise money for good causes and get money from their family and friends, however, many people unfortunately create fake fundraisers in order to extort money from good-hearted people. Always be careful and do your research before donating your hard earned money, to avoid getting scammed on these apps by scammers.
Many older people are unfortunately being targeted through whatsapp scams – the most common type of scam is a text pretending to be the older person’s child, who has lost and broken their phone. The scammer will try and get the person to donate money to help who they think is their child, texting from a friend’s phone. Keeping yourself aware of all the current whatsapp scams, and setting up code words with friends and family in cases of events like these, will help you prevent being scammed online. Always approach texts and messages from numbers you do not recognise with suspicion.
Romance and love scams are one of the rising types of scams in recent years. The pandemic led to more people trying to find love online, and this meant that cyber scammers saw a huge opportunity to try and find susceptible victims. Romance scammers will create a fake profile and target people, and lovebomb them to create genuine feelings in the mark. This could continue for months and months, and eventually, the scammer will ask for money for investments, travelling, rent and other avenues. If you think you’re experiencing a romance scam, make sure to contact someone you trust for help, and don’t send any money to the person.
Fake Cyber Security Updates
Cyber scams have made people much more likely to be interested in cyber security and protection, especially when so many cyber scams involve malware and ransomware. However, cyber scammers are very shrewd and will even take advantage of this, promising downloads of free cybersecurity programmes and scans. Even though you think you’re downloading cyber security software, you could end up with a virus that steals your data. Make sure that you’re using well-established cyber security software in order to protect your devices.
Closing Down Sale Scams
Many scams will involve selling fake items, keeping the prices very low in order to attract a high amount of victims. They will say that they’re holding a closing down sale scam online, and then never send the items that the person has bought. Then, because the website will be completely closed down, the scammers will be almost impossible to trace. Even though it’s unlikely that you will lose a significant amount of money through these scams, you should still be wary when online shopping in order to protect your money. Try to only shop at reputable websites and search for online reviews before you buy something, no matter how much the website urges you to buy quickly.
Pretending to be a person’s bank is one of the worst ways a cyber scammer can get your money. Once a cyber hacker has access to your bank account, they can wipe out the entire balance. If you receive a dodgy email that looks like it is from your bank, always be wary. A bank will never urge you to reveal personal information such as your pin number and passwords, or make you click a link via the email. Make sure that if you get correspondence from your bank that you’re ringing the bank before you reveal any information that could compromise your account.
Cryptocurrency Investment Scams
During the cost of living crisis, many people are searching for side hustles and investment opportunities in order to better protect their money. Cryptocurrency and NFTs are one of the leading ways that people can invest their money – however, cryptocurrency scams are on the rise. If you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrency, make sure that you exercise caution and remember that if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. If you’ve fallen victim to a cryptocurrency investment scam, make sure to get in contact with investment fraud attorneys, who can help you retrieve your money.