Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data shows that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion in fraud in 2021. That is an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous year. Scams continue to run rampant and it’s important for consumers to beware to avoid being swindled by scammers. Be alert and protect yourself from 4 new scams.
1 Cryptocurrency Scams
As cryptocurrency gets more attention, scams related to digital currency increase. The FTC warns that if you see a text, email, or message on social media that encourages you to pay upfront with cryptocurrency, it is a scam. Only scammers will demand payment for something with cryptocurrency in advance. Investment scams are one of the leading cryptocurrency scams, with crypto used as an investment and also as a payment. Cryptocurrency scammers are posing as investment managers and even celebrities who claim they can multiply your cryptocurrency once you transfer it into their online account. Don’t fall victim to the big claims that cryptocurrency scammers make.
Cryptocurrency scams can also involve fake contests or giveaways. The scammer may impersonate a well-known cryptocurrency website to lure targets into sending money or even sharing login information. The most recent cryptocurrency scam involves an impersonator, a QR code, and a crypto ATM where victims are directed to send money. A scammer will encourage a victim to withdraw some cash and go to a crypto ATM with the intent of purchasing crypto. The scammer then shares a QR code that contains their crypto wallet address with the victim. Once the victim scans the code, the purchased crypto would transfer to the scammer’s account.
2 Fake Amazon Employee Scams
There have been increasing reports of scammers posing as Amazon employees contacting targets claiming to need verification about their Amazon accounts. In fact, one-third of the reported business-imposter fraud complaints involve scammers claiming they’re from Amazon according to the FTC. Emails or text messages may contain links to a website that look like Amazon but is actually a fraudulent site. In reality, it is sent from an outside party attempting to access your personal information by getting you to open an attachment or link that contains malware or redirects to a dangerous website.
Scammers will phish for credit card information or other financial information. They may even ask for remote access to your computer to try to resolve an issue. Be skeptical of any unsolicited calls, emails, or text messages that ask for personal information. Delete any messages or emails without clicking on links. In addition to reporting this to the FTC, you can also report scams relating to Amazon to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 P2P Payment Scams
P2P (peer-to-peer) payment apps are a convenient way to send and receive money. You may be familiar with apps such as Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, and Cash App. Scammers are taking advantage of the popularity of these apps to steal money. The theft can take many different forms. It might be a request for payment via a P2P app for a fake product or service, such as tickets or marked-down merchandise. It may even be a scammer posing as a representative of the P2P company or your financial institution. If a scammer gets your personal information and accesses your account, it may result in unauthorized electronic funds transfers.
Most importantly, keep in mind that P2P apps don’t let you cancel a transaction once you’ve sent the money to another user. With that in mind, avoid sending or requesting money from anyone you don’t know and trust. If someone is pressuring you to act quickly, it may be a scam. P2P apps have measures in place to keep your account secure. Be sure to enable them. They might include multifactor authentication. If you suspect foul play regarding your account, get in touch with your financial institution immediately. Contact the P2P company as well and also report the scam to the FTC.
4 Google Voice Scams
This is the latest scam using popular technology against you. Scammers contact people with items listed for sale on popular sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and others. They say they want to purchase the item but are hesitant about being scammed. They tell unsuspecting targets they are getting a verification code from Google Voice that they want you to read back to them. The scammer then uses that information to set up a fake Google Voice account in their name. If someone asks you to do this, it is probably a scam.
Take scam warnings seriously
We hope this information helps you protect yourself from these 4 new scams. Always remain vigilant and skeptical when someone unknown contacts you. Enable multifactor authentication whenever possible, and report scams to the FTC.
Read more about scams in our blog “7 Ways to Recognize a Scam.”