Online scammers create new and deceptive schemes every day in hopes of swindling unsuspecting victims out of their time, money and resources. Consumers reported $5.8 billion in fraud to the Federal Trade Commission last year, a 70 percent increase from 2020. Here are some of the trending scams:
Romance Meets Cryptocurrency
In 2021, online daters lost a record $547 million to romance scams, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission. Scammers are now using online dating platforms to trick victims into investing in cryptocurrency accounts before disappearing with their money. It’s a months-long trust-building scam known as “pig butchering.”
This is an attack where scammers fake your identity with a mobile carrier to gain access to your phone. From there, they use “Forgot Password” for critical online accounts - think banking, investments and social media - to intercept two-factor authentication text messages. In 2021, this scam resulted in losses over $68 million and is still a very popular and effective scam today.
Back To School Scams
In August, many parents post “first day of school” photos on social media with their child holding a chalkboard or sign with details about the child’s teacher, school, birth date, height, interests, favorite colors, etc. While it’s wonderful to share updates with friends and family, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning to families about oversharing personal information on social media due to privacy concerns and online scammers. The Federal Trade Commission also issued a warning about back-to-school shoppers being targeted by online scams.
This scam is not necessarily “new” and traditionally targets consumers trying to rent a home, but with the red hot rental market and usage of social media websites to advertise rental properties, this scam has regained steam. According to the FBI, 11,578 people nationwide reported losing over $350 million through rental and real estate scams in 2021 with a major uptick of victims this summer. There’s even a spinoff of this scam for vacation rentals.