Yotam Dar, expert in blockchain technology and cybersecurity, has extensive experience dealing with scams. He has shared what he believes are going to be the three top scams to look out for this fiscal year.
A money remittance scam, also known as a money transfer scam, is when one person requests money from another, often using a range of nefarious tactics to gain access to the person’s funds and bank accounts.
Although this is a category of fraud, it is still an incredibly broad issue, with people around the globe falling prey on a daily basis. Especially during the pandemic, these scams became more common than ever before, with the Guardian, a UK newspaper, reporting over £700,000 stolen every single day from money remittance scams in 2021.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the three most common money remittance scams, making sure you know exactly how to keep your funds safe. We’ll be directly touching on scams that have become popular over the past few months, meaning you’ll be more than ready to stay safe during 2022.
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Across every single online subscription service, the average customer spends $273 per month. Due to this, individuals will have several, if not more than 10-15, different subscriptions being billed to their account every single month. A software scam takes advantage of this, sending an email to users and claiming that they have an issue with a payment card.
Considering that people have so many subscriptions, it’s not uncommon that they may take these emails as the truth, quickly re-entering their payment details on the email. The email may either directly ask for the user to go click a link and update their payment details, or may ask for private information to ‘verify the account user’.
In this first case, the scammer will then make off with the user’s financial detail, often incurring large payments on their cards. If they’re seeking personal information, this scam could become even more dangerous and be the scammer’s way of getting all the personal details that they need to steal the user’s identities.
How do I detect these scams?
The best way to steer clear of a software scam is to ensure that no matter whoever emails you, never click on links within their email. If they’re pretending to be a certain service, then you should navigate directly, via the internet, to that site’s webpage and check your details on that screen.
By doing this, you’ll ensure that all of your details are still in order without giving anything away to the scammers. Additionally, make sure to watch out for customer support emails, as these are a common way people get in touch and try and launch this software support scam.
Long-Distance Dating Scam
Online dating has been a phenomenon that’s become incredibly popular within the last fifteen years. In fact, there are over 44 million users that actively use dating sites – and that’s in the US alone!
With this new popularity, fraudsters have turned to catfishing people on dating sites (using someone else’s photos), building a relationship with them, and then asking them for money. As this is closely tied to emotional manipulation, this scam has very high pay-off rates for scammers that do this.
This form of scam grew over 50% between 2019 and 2020, with more and more scammers turning to this emotionally manipulative medium of extracting cash from strangers on the internet.
How to protect yourself
When it comes to online dating, be sure to take steps to verify the identity of the person you’re actually talking to. While large dating sites like Tinder do have features that help users verify that they’re who they say they are, these are AI-run and can therefore be overcome.
The most secure way to make sure someone is who they say there are is through a video call. A live video call will ensure that you’re talking to the person you think you are, helping you verify their identity.
The Revenue Agency Scam
One of the most effective money remittance scams that commonly occurs online is through individuals pretending to be from governmental revenue agencies. Perhaps pretending to be from a tax agency, they will reach out and state that a user has underpaid on their taxes. From there, they suggest that instant action – even jail time – will be taken if the user doesn’t pay the amount they owe.
Due to the panic that users feel upon receiving this email, they fail to double-check that the email is actually from whom they say it is. This is a scam that is commonly targeted at the elderly, as that demographic has been historically more vulnerable online.
These remittance scams could take the money and then move the fraud even further, asking for information to confirm the user’s identity. The victim of the scam may then confirm some of their details, which gives the scammer further leverage to launch even more scam efforts in their name.
How to avoid this scam
The golden rule of online internet security is that if someone emails you, never ever do what they ask until you’ve verified their account. Be sure to check the email against the official email that’s listed on the organization’s website. Pay attention to letters and numbers like ‘o’ and ‘0’, which are often used to confuse users.
Additionally, some scammers may ask for payment either in Bitcoin or gift cards. This is a huge red flag. The government would never ask for payment in a medium that isn’t simply your local currency. If you ever get a message asking for an alternative payment scheme, then you’re probably best to delete that email and report it as a scam.
Staying safe online is becoming an increasingly difficult foray. With millions of different financial remittance scams launched every single day, it’s no wonder that more and more people are falling for them.
If you want to keep yourself safe online, be sure to double-check any correspondence you get on the official website for the brand. Always avoid clicking on links from emails that you don’t know, and take a moment before making any rash decisions with your money.