In Portugal, Consumers Trust’s Portal da Queixa conducted a study titled “Consumers’ Digital Literacy in 2023,” which concluded that from January 1 to April 25 of this year, it received 4,287 complaints related to online scams. Check Point Software Technologies, a company that provides cybersecurity solutions to businesses and governments around the world, decided to analyze which scams are the most difficult to identify.
The nine most important scams you should beware of this fall:
1. Onomatopoeia against bank accounts: The next generation of fraudsters are now artificially generating consumer votes and trying over the phone to trick banking providers into transferring money. According to the New York Times, the problem is so recent that currently no one knows its exact extent.
However, at least one company responsible for monitoring voice traffic on behalf of the largest banks in the United States has reported a significant increase in voice fraud attempts this year compared to previous years. The speed of AI development and the relatively low costs of generative AI software, coupled with the widespread availability of audio recordings on YouTube, Facebook, and other websites, create an ideal set of conditions for voice-related AI fraud.
2. Looker Studio Cryptocurrency Attacks: Looker Studio is a Google tool that companies use to develop custom, easy-to-understand reports on their data. According to Check Point. Those responsible for the scams are now using the tool to create fake cryptocurrency pages that are delivered to victims via email. Victims are told that the fake pages offer investment strategies designed to deliver significant returns.
After email recipients click on the link, they are taken to a login page, which states that they must log in to their cryptocurrency account, or else they risk losing access to it. However, the login page is designed to steal credentials. In short, because Looker Studio scams are sent through Google, they pass all standard security checks and individuals can experience thefts that result in large amounts of money. Recipients of Google/Looker Studio emails should be aware of this.
3. Job fraud on LinkedIn (and other corporate social networks): More than 100 million jobs are uploaded to LinkedIn every second, and it can be difficult to distinguish between real and fake jobs. Nearly two-thirds of job seekers in Britain have been targeted with fake opportunities, the BBC reported. Despite their popularity, fake job ads are not limited to LinkedIn, they are found on all job search sites. This type of fraud often follows two main patterns.
First, they end up taking users to something like a landing page, where they are asked to download a resource, log in and provide personal data. They then ask the “selected” job seekers to provide a financial reward as quickly as possible, promising to compensate them (advance payment plans). Job seekers are advised to be careful and ensure that a particular organization actually exists and that the contact details of the organization are correct.
4. Emergency call from “loved ones”: Scammers use artificial intelligence as a weapon to clone voices to resemble those of their targets’ loved ones. In at least one incident, a cybercriminal contacted a young mother, pretending that her daughter was in his custody and that he would kill her if the mother did not intervene. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of one million euros. Initially, police dismissed the incident as a prank. However, the mother has since called on the US Congress and technology leaders to take action to help prevent criminals from misusing emerging AI technologies.
It turns out that these types of schemes are common in the United States, and out of 36,000 reports, more than 5,000 victims lost more than 11 million euros. To protect themselves from audio cloning scams, CISO Pete Nicoletti recommends that families adopt a “code word” system. Family members who suspect fraud should always call the person to verify the authenticity of the call. Additionally, social media accounts should be set to private, as publicly available information can easily be used against people.
5. Fraud with fake suppliers: In Asia, new impersonation scams have recently led to business disruption and financial losses. Those responsible posed as school employees and deceived companies into making payments to fake suppliers. People posing as school employees call or text companies to request that materials be delivered to the school within a short period of time.
Since companies do not have the necessary volume of materials available to fulfill orders, fraudsters provide companies with the contact details of fake suppliers. The victims then paid for the orders to the fake suppliers. The companies discovered the fraud after real schools refused to pay them for a fake order. A businessman lost about 27 thousand euros. Companies should adopt precautionary protocols to help employees detect and prevent fraud.
6. Craigslist scams: For prospective renters, dealing with real estate scams is now part of the process. Between inflation, high costs of living and housing shortages, people are left vulnerable as they struggle to find what they need on a limited budget. Scammers exploit people’s fear, doubt and desperation through complex schemes on Craigslist.
To avoid this type of scam, people can start by searching Google for the unit address, and make sure the owner or real estate agent’s name matches the property name. If meeting with the property owner, individuals can request proof that the owner owns the home by contacting their local tax assessor’s office, state employee, or local agency. In addition, people should be aware of deadlines and urgent payment requests before visiting the property.
7. Fraud against construction contractors: According to a new study, 10% of Americans have fallen victim to contractor scams. This type of fraud affects people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and affects all types of homeowners. One of the most common scams involves overcharging for materials. The contractor purchases an excess amount of a material, charges the homeowner the full cost, and then returns the unused material to the store for a refund.
In similar scams, contractors charge homeowners for materials from previous jobs, then replace them with cheaper materials. In other cases, contractors accept large initial deposits and then disappear. There are an endless number of ways they can scam homeowners. Red flags to look for include unsolicited contractors who claim to be “in the neighborhood” and available to work on certain types of projects, contractors who require you to obtain work permits, contractors who do not provide written quotes, and contractors who do not provide written quotes. . Submit a complete contract.
8. Legal fraud: These types of scams are often carried out in creative ways and, as with many of the scams on this list, vary in their exact nature. The caller may claim to be a representative or collaborator of the court, such as an administrative law judge. Victims may be told that they owe money to a particular entity because they missed a hearing and/or that paying is the only way to avoid an impending arrest. Victims then feel forced to make payments over the phone.
Although this type of fraud is not new, authorities say that fraudsters have become more sophisticated and persistent in their scams. Law enforcement officials advise anyone who receives these types of calls to hang up immediately. Consider reporting suspicious calls (or emails) to the authorities.
9. Fuel fraud: This type of scam is physical online, where scammers approach unsuspecting individuals who are fueling their cars at service stations, offering to fill them with gas or return the nozzle to the pump. Instead of returning the nozzle, scammers use the still active nozzle to pump gasoline to a new customer, for which they charge a fee for the service. In this way, the scammers not only withdraw money from the bank account of the initial victim, but also receive income from the second victim. Some of the suspects forcefully seized the victims’ gasoline hoses after they refused to offer assistance.
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