The government says that in 2022, 1 in 15 adults were victims of fraud which makes up 40% of all offences in England. The most common scams we are seeing involve HMRC scam texts and emails, fake bank texts or TV licencing messages where people are given a link to click on to either provide information or make payments online. According to Barclays Bank, 77% of scams tend to start on social media, online marketplaces, dating apps and WhatsApp where people reach out to others and use sophisticated tactics to defraud them.
We live in a time where all sorts of scams are being developed and thought up every day. It is easier than ever for scammers to use online platforms to find victims and lure them into giving information that criminals can then use to sell on the black market and commit identity fraud or theft. Advancements in technology give scammers great accessibility to commit fraud. This is because more data is stored online. More companies only function online which means that they must hold a lot of sensitive information on digital platforms which can be hacked.
In addition, super-advanced technology such as virtual reality software is being developed which often involves putting on a headset to be transformed into a virtual world. The VR technology has to collect sensitive biometric information such as fingerprints, body and eye movements and voice tones. This type of information is highly unique to us and if it got into the wrong hands, it could result in terrible consequences. This means that now, our personal information is more vulnerable to criminals as our data is more exposed.
Fraudsters have access to more tools that can help them commit crimes such as AI technology like ChatGPT which helps people formulate very real messages which they can use to commit phishing attacks.
What Types of Scams Are Out There?
Cryptocurrency scams are where people are convinced to invest in fake investments or give financial details to set up fake accounts. Their information is then stolen and used to activate fake credit cards or loans.
Romance scams are also on the rise where people create fake accounts on dating apps and try to build a strong bond or connection with their victim. They will often make excuses as to why they can’t meet the victim in person and then once they’ve developed trust and rapport, they ask for money.
Pension scams are one of the most common scams in the UK. This is where criminals contact people with pensions and tell them that they can find great investment opportunities or gain tax-free money from their pension pot or get cash back. Falling victim to pension scams can result in losing all your pension.
It is important to be more careful than ever before both online and offline. It could be argued that we are experiencing an epidemic of scams with criminals finding new ways of targeting victims and creating clever scams by the day. The best thing to do is to be vigilant, check people are who they say they are and don’t pass any details about yourself to strangers or unknown companies online or offline.