Editorial: You have won $20M and qualify for student debt repayment | Editorials | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

A recent spin through the inbox finds that our business qualified for a $2MM loan; a phone call from the president; and this is our last warning to set a new password — just click right here — or else we will forever be locked out of our account.

Only the latter sounds too good to be true — as more than 85 percent of the contents of our inboxes are spam and scam.

Then there are the phone calls. And the text messages.

To live today is to be harangued virtually by suspicious characters at every turn. But, while most of us dislike this new reality, officials who could do something about it seem helpless to do much besides issue warnings.

Recently, we’ve been warned about scams targeting Federal Student Aid loan forgiveness, Hurricane Ian victims and, this week, a new warning about a romance-cryptocurrency scam, called “pig butchering.” That charming description of a scam that has been successful refers to the victims who are fed with promises of love and money before the scammer cuts them off with nothing.

Warnings always help: Please don’t give people your personal information; don’t trust high-pressure sales tactics that move the conversation to less untraceable venues like WhatsApp or demand quick action or payment in gift cards and cryptocurrency. Even so, more needs to be done, as scams are proliferating, more or less unchecked.

People who report losing money in internet scams are often referred to the FBI, and told that international jurisdiction issues hinder any investigative efforts or legal consequences.

Shockingly, Interpol’s first large-scale scam crackdown — called Operation First Light — didn’t happen until 2020.

And while we’re glad the agency arrested 20,000 bad actors and intercepted nearly $254 million, the rare occurrence of such results creates moving targets that evolve way ahead of these molasses-like attempts to contain them.

According to the Better Business Bureau, online scams have risen by 87 percent since 2015. That’s huge.

The BBB analyzed more than 300,000 reports submitted to BBB Scam Tracker between 2015 and 2022 — 75 percent of which came from people who lost money — along with 2022 survey research. And while phone scams are down, thanks to scam filters, the unchecked profits that scammers rake in are up.

More warnings to protect the public are fine, but we need new tools, building on the success of phone scam filters, to help fight this kind of crime.

And we need more encouragement for our leaders and law enforcement to unite in orchestrated crackdowns to catch these financial predators and prosecute them.

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