Top Scams In 2024 To Look Out For | #datingscams | #lovescams


The digital age has brought a healthy amount of interconnectivity and convenience along with it, but at the same time, it’s given rise to a whole host of scams. But first, what exactly are scams and why should you be wary of them?

In a nutshell, a scam is when a malicious actor uses various forms of deceit for financial gain. They use a wide range of methods to obtain private information or access financial accounts. Historically speaking, scams have involved things like identity theft, pyramid schemes, romance fraud and phishing, with millions of people around the world continuing to fall for the same old schemes.

In the UK, around 1.4 million scams were reported in the first half of 2023 alone. This averaged out to one scam every 12 seconds, incurring an estimated £580 million in financial losses for British consumers. Over in Singapore, scam reports increased by a staggering 64.5% year over year.

This begs the question, how are people still susceptible to widely known forms of fraud? Part of the blame lies on a lack of awareness. Many consumers just don’t know about commonplace scams, which makes them prime targets for scammers looking for their next big payday. However, this isn’t the only factor contributing to the widespread prevalence of scams.

In 2024, the rapid advancement of technology, and AI in particular, has created several new opportunities for bad actors to trick consumers. They can now perform scams with many layers of complexity, allowing them to bypass common security measures and trick even the savviest of consumers. The key to protecting yourself is understanding the new threat landscape, so without further ado, here are 8 scams you should look out for in 2024.

1. Deepfake Video Scams

Deepfakes are perhaps the most chilling example of what AI can accomplish. The term is used to describe synthetic media that can replicate someone’s likeness, and they’ve been a source of major concern ever since the term was coined on Reddit in 2017.

Image: AIgen

AI has vastly improved the quality of deepfakes. According to Express VPN, malicious actors can use this tech to replace someone’s face with that of another individual and make it seem like they did or said something they’re not responsible for.

This can lead to all sorts of scams. Firstly, consumers might receive a video of someone they know asking for money. Since they’ll trust the images they’re seeing, there’s a good chance that they’d acquiesce to the request.

Celebrities and other people of influence are commonly targeted in this manner. This can be used to spread misinformation, but in many cases their likenesses provide an air of legitimacy to an otherwise fraudulent operation.

A prime example of this is an incident involving Taylor Swift. A deepfaked video showed the musical superstar participating in a free giveaway of Le Creuset brand cookware and utensils. All anyone had to do was pay a shipping fee of $9.96 to receive the products, which is how the scammers were hoping to make a buck. Her participation in this scheme was obviously a scam, but the presence of her likeness and the accuracy of the deepfake made it seem much more trustworthy.

The best way to avoid falling prey to these scams is to verify their authenticity. If the person in the video is someone you know, it’d be best to contact them yourself to ascertain the identity of the sender. In cases of celebrity impersonation, checking their social media profiles would be a great way to figure out if the advertised scheme is a true collaboration or just another attempt at a scam.

2. Voice Cloning Scams

It’s not just images and videos that can be created through generative AI. Voice cloning is yet another example of how far this tech has come over the past year, and while it has some legitimate use cases, malicious actors can also use it for their own financial gain.

According to the New York Times, a Bank of America representative received a call from an investor asking to transfer his investments to a different account. It turned out that the voice on the other end, which seemed essentially indistinguishable from that of the actual client, was generated through deepfake technology.

While the representative was able to discern the fraudulent nature of the call, this is a sinister example of just how easy it can be to mimic someone’s voice. Financial institutions aren’t the only ones targeted by these scams either, since the people conducting these scams tend to widen their net and include regular folk as well.

There have been many reported instances of people receiving a call from a relative asking for money. The highly accurate mimicry of voice cloning tech can make it difficult to tell if the request is legitimate or not.

You might think that spotting these scammers is as easy as checking the number they’re calling from. However, it is important to note that they can spoof phone numbers to make it seem like they’re coming from an alternative source.

Experts recommend setting up a family password or secret phrase that you can ask for during such calls. Additionally, you should consider following up with your relative to make sure that they were the ones making the request.

3. Crypto Scams

The frenzy surrounding crypto might not be at the fever pitch it reached a couple years ago, but that hasn’t stopped scammers from incorporating it into their fraudulent activities. Countless people are experiencing FOMO after seeing bitcoin millionaires popping up from every corner, which makes them easy pickings for crypto fraud.

One of the most common ways in which this feeling is exploited is through fake early investment opportunities. Anyone that’s sore about missing their chance to get in on the ground floor of bitcoin, ether or other crypto tokens might be tempted to sign up for the first ICO, or Initial Coin Offering, that they hear about.

That said, most of these crypto tokens have absolutely no value. Pump and dump schemes are a frequent occurrence in this space, with underhanded individuals drumming up publicity to artificially inflate the value of the token before liquidating their earnings and leaving investors in the lurch.

In other cases, scammers might entice you by offering a once-in-a-lifetime crypto investment opportunity to steal your login credentials. This often involves bot attacks that can intercept OTPs and grant access to your account without your knowledge.

Granting legitimacy to these endeavors has become easier than ever before due to the rise of generative AI. Deepfaked endorsement videos and phone calls are just two of the many techniques that scammers might use, and with ChatGPT and other LLM powered chatbots, creating believable copy for these scams is easier than it’s ever been before.

So, how can you protect yourself from these scams? Well, for starters, it might be good to realize that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If a crypto scheme claims to offer you the chance to get rich quick, there’s a good chance that it’s a complete work of fiction. It’s always important to perform due diligence, which might actually be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal to keep scammers at bay.

4. Employment Scams

These types of scams are quite similar to crypto fraud in that they offer a great deal in exchange for very little. The economic crisis has hit millions of people extremely hard, and as a result, they may be willing to throw caution to the wind and accept any job offer that comes their way. When these employment opportunities seem to promise them everything they could’ve asked for, it can be hard to say no.

Scammers are well aware of this fact, and they’re using it to get their hands on as much data as they can obtain by putting up fake ads. In order to apply for a job, you’d likely need to fill out an application form. This will contain private and personal details, all of which can be sold on the dark web for a high markup. Any links contained within these job offers might also be a part of a phishing campaign, so it’s important to take these with a grain of salt.

Several cases involve job applicants being offered employment in exchange for purchasing a training course or equipment. As obvious as it might sound right now, none of these opportunities are legitimate. Any money that you spend on training programs is fairly unlikely to give you the results you’re looking for.

Of course, it takes a lot of effort to convince people of the legitimacy of a scam. Fraudsters gain trust by sending payment checks, but if you were to accept this sum, you’d be hit with an immediate chargeback. This is known as an overpayment scam, with malicious actors threatening legal action if you fail to repay the extra amount.

Always make sure that the offer is coming from a trustworthy source. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all!

5. Technical Support Scams

Tech support is an essential service, since it can help you maintain your productivity and eliminate unwanted delays. However, if you get a service call from a company regarding your device, you might be getting targeted by scammers.

Tech support scam illustration

Image: AIgen

The people behind these schemes will call you from a spoofed number, claiming that there’s something wrong with your system. They can send messages via email as well, which can be proofread through ChatGPT or even generated entirely by AI. It can be tough to make out whether the communication is coming from a legitimate source, since the hallmarks of scam emails such as grammatical errors and spelling mistakes have become a thing of the past.

The victim will be asked to pay for an antivirus or some other service that likely won’t be provided, or it might not offer the advantages you were promised. Alternatively, scammers might ask you to give them remote access to your system. This can allow them to install spyware, ransomware or other forms of malware. The best case scenario is that you’d lose some personal data, and even that can be catastrophic nowadays given how interconnected all of your online accounts have become.

The FTC has stated that tech companies won’t reach out to you on their own to inform you about a glitch. Unless you called someone asking for help, it’s almost certain that the support is actually an attempt to defraud you.

6. Romance scams

These are perhaps the oldest scams in the book, but they continue to be a thorn in people’s sides. Aided in no small part by AI, scammers reach out to lonely individuals posing as potential suitors. AI generated images can allow them to pass as an attractive and interesting match, but at some point during this purely digital relationship, the victim will be asked for money.

It might be an innocent request for financial assistance, something that most people would be happy to provide to their romantic partners, but there’s also the possibility of blackmail to consider. Relationships usually involve the exchange of intimate photos, and many victims will simply pay off the scammers to make sure that their humiliation doesn’t become public.

Scammers can create catfish profiles on online dating platforms to exploit their victims, and the data shows that 1 out of 4 Americans have fallen for these scams as of January 2023. With AI becoming more sophisticated every day, catfish profiles aren’t going to be easy to identify moving forward.

Any attempts to get personal or financial information from you should be seen with suspicion, no matter how much you think you love the person on the other end!

7. Student Loan Forgiveness Scams

Student loans have been a prime concern for Americans for quite some time, with the Biden administration offering widespread debt forgiveness to boost the economy. This has the unfortunate side effect of giving malicious actors another point of entry.

If someone were to tell you that your loans have been waived, it’d be extremely tempting to take them at their word. However, the moment they ask you for your bank account information should be where you draw the line. Social security numbers should also be closely guarded, and under no circumstances should you share this information over email. If the person you’re communicating with reacts negatively to your hesitation, that’s about as obvious of a red flag as you can get.

You should also be wary of claims of time sensitivity. Upcoming expiry dates for loan forgiveness are an effective lure that can hook victims that don’t want to miss the deadline, but in most cases you can double check whether or not the program exists on the Department of Education’s official website.

It also must be said that applying for loan relief will always be free of charge. Only a scammer would ask you to pay for an application, so the best course of action is to ignore any further calls and send the emails over to the appropriate authorities.

8. Peer to Peer Payment Scams

Zelle, CashApp, Venmo and various other peer to peer payment platforms can be very useful if you want to quickly transfer your funds. But what if you’re told that your account has been compromised? This is a serious issue, no doubt about that, but it might not be the emergency that you think it is.

Malicious actors are known to call peer to peer payment users and tell them that someone was trying to steal their money by accessing their account. They would then guide you through the process for securing your account, but this would potentially involve them stealing your log-in credentials. They might also ask for payment to check if your account is working, but these funds won’t make their way back to you.

Zelle has experienced an influx of scammers using this method, leading to them reimbursing a portion of the victims. Refund eligibility isn’t always guaranteed, though, so it’s best to learn a thing or two about the scams so that you don’t become a victim in the first place.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the scams that you might see in 2024. As you can tell, AI plays a central role in all of them to one extent or another. That just goes to show that any tech is a double-edged sword.

Consider using tools like identity theft protection software and two factor authentication to protect yourself. Use complex yet easy to remember passwords, keep your software updated and consider destroying any private documents instead of dumping them in the trash. Cybersecurity can be easy as long as you practice some common sense!





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