It’s all about the money, and there is a scam for everyone
Criminals use social engineering to deceive and manipulate individuals into committing an act they have not intended for identity and financial theft. In 2021 more than $55B were reported as scam losses globally in research done by the Global Anti Scam Alliance.
The FBI has received 847,376 complaints of online scams with reported losses exceeding $5.8 billion in the US alone. These are just REPORTED numbers as it is estimated that less than 7% of scams are reported.
The more we report, the more we help others!
Below are some examples of scam categories, yet there are many more - Amazon scams, PayPal scams, UPS/Shipping scams, fake notices from the bank, etc. If you own a smartphone chances are there is one in your messages right now.
Scammers try to trick you into investing money. They may lie to you or give you fake information about a real investment, or they may make up a fake investment opportunity for stocks, bonds, notes, commodities, currency, or even real estate, and most recently - Crypto! Crypto scams are growing 700% year over year. They may even show you some profit initially, and then convince you to invest larger sums of money, and then vanish with it.
Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim. Typically they will say they are in danger and need money ASAP to get them out of the situation.
IT Helpdesk Scams
A scammer will target individuals and pose as the CEO or a sales manager, asking to buy gift cards for a customer, or sending service notifications that require immediate action to bypass multi-factor authentication. These scams happen typically outside the context of the business email or messaging, over SMS, personal mail or WhatsApp.
It's not just about money though. There is a huge emotional toll as well. And it can cost lives.
Let’s be honest, being scammed is not something anyone is proud of. The perception is that victims of such scams are less tech savvy, more vulnerable, or elderly, but the reality is, it can happen to ANYONE. Criminals can catch us on an “off” day and they are very convincing. They use psychological tactics ranging from fear to delight to execute the scam. If you were scammed, it is NOT your fault.Report a scam message
What to do if you were scammed
First, you are not alone. Millions of people are impacted each year. Don’t let the shame take over. Instead, take action. Here is some advice by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for a number of situations:
If a scammer stole your money
Call your bank or your credit card company. They will guide you through next steps
If they stole personal information
Report a case of identity theft with your official authorities
If they stole login credentials
Change your passwords and deploy Multi-Factor Authentication where possible
If a scammer has access to your computer/phone
Call your company (for work devices) or your carrier and report the problem, ensure your security software is up to date, and check that you have no suspicious activity on your account.