Today’s digital age has many benefits. But with all the convenience that comes with technology, there’s a much darker side. Each year, fraudsters are getting more sophisticated. Along with the level of their expertise, fraud and scam numbers are rising.
Unfortunately, according to recent findings, the general public is now being scammed more than ever. The latest results from the KPMG Fraud Barometer showed that the value of fraud in the UK reached £532.6 million, compared to £137.4 million in 2021. Let’s be honest; with the widespread use of technology, such numbers of various fraud cases aren’t surprising anymore.
Fraud experts argue that anyone can become a victim of a scam. Everyone is affected, from standard users to large-scale business owners, since there are plenty of dangerous fraud and cybersecurity threats these days. So to protect yourself from scams, you need to learn more about the most common fraud patterns and how to spot the red flags.
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Naturally, the UK has controlled fraud more effectively these past few months than throughout the sky-high pandemic period. Despite that, since many people were forced to do their shopping online, today, the most popular scams remain all fraud types associated with stolen card information.
For instance, criminals typically steal a card to use it for a cash machine later. Nowadays, fraudsters also use stolen card details to apply for mortgages under a different name. And let’s not forget cases when criminals steal card details just to sell them on the dark web.
How to avoid fraud: If your bank information is stolen, you can get your money back under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. To avoid this scenario in the first place, always check your bank accounts regularly to detect any inconsistencies.
Fraudsters often withdraw small amounts to stay incognito. Always log out of your bank account, and don’t use public WiFi to check your balance. Additionally, don’t send sensitive information, such as your credit card information, over text or email.
2. Investment Fraud
Investment fraud occurs when scammers trick people and push them to invest their money in various stocks, digital assets, real estate, or even pension funds. Specialists argue that this type of fraud is hard to spot and comes with long-lasting damaging effects.
Typically, older people become targets of this scam because they tend to have more savings and less knowledge of different scam schemes. For an investment scam to work, the criminal needs to promise very good returns, pushing the victim to act quickly and without much thinking. Sometimes, fraudsters even think of fake investment opportunities.
That’s why, for instance, investment fraud is often linked to pyramid schemes, where scammers will ask people to invest small amounts, explaining that that’ll give a large profit. The scam comes to light when the fraudster steals all the collected funds and runs away with the investors’ money.
How to avoid fraud: Be cautious when receiving emails with investment opportunities, especially when they’re stressing about a limited-time offer. This is a red flag, usually indicating that it’s a scam. Real companies with good intentions won’t pressure you to make rushed decisions.
Correspondingly, offers that are related to early access to pensions aren’t legitimate. And on that note, keep in mind that cold calls related to pensions are illegal. It’s better to block the number and hang up the phone in these situations.
3. Identity Fraud
Identity fraud happens when scammers steal identity information and use it to commit further crimes. Unfortunately, identity theft happens more often than you think. Hackers steal from companies or target users through phishing, for example, with the goal of stealing financial and personal information.
They later use this data to buy new things, receive profit by selling information on the dark web, steal tax refunds, open new bank accounts, apply for mortgages, get new credit cards, etc. Sometimes, fraudsters use special tools to guess people’s passwords, especially if they overshare on social media.
How to avoid fraud: Stay clear from shopping on suspicious e-commerce sites. If the company doesn’t have clear policies and multiple secure payment options, it might be a way to steal your data along with your whole identity. Of course, you can’t forget the basics: don’t recycle your password, or don’t open any phishing emails that come from suspicious senders.
Typically, proper financial institutions will ask their users to complete ID Verification, which means that to use digital banking services, clients must upload a photo of their identity document to ensure they’re real. This fraud prevention measure helps deter identity theft and prevents malicious actors from committing financial crimes.
It’s essential to take cybersecurity and fraud prevention seriously. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or a user who loves online shopping; certain security measures will help you stay clear of fraud and protect your personal information.
Organizations need to fight back against online fraud with digital security tools. The same principle applies to users at home. Good cybersecurity practices and fraud prevention hygiene will help safeguard sensitive data from all the bad actors out there.