A new wave of convincing scams is “bombarding consumers from every direction”, according to a leading consumer group.
which? It issued a warning against the four most convincing scams seen so far this year, such as “killing pigs” and falsely seeking people to petition.
Lisa Barber, which one? Technology editor, said: “Shockingly, scammers continue to flourish in 2023, with a new wave of convincing scams bombarding consumers from every direction.
“Consumers can help protect themselves from scams by accessing a wide range of free expert advice on Which?’s website, from signing up for our scam alert service to getting advice on how to get their money back if they do fall victim to fraud. Answer”
which? Scams to watch out for include:
Scammers and victims typically meet on dating sites, and after gaining their trust (“fattening them”), the scammers eventually ask victims to turn to private messaging services, removing them from the protections the dating site offers.
The scammer claims to be a successful investor—often in real estate or cryptocurrencies—and offers to invest some of the victim’s funds.
Victims are sometimes presented with a cryptocurrency exchange controlled by scammers and encouraged to sign up and deposit funds.
One UK victim lost £107,000 to one such scam, which? Said she believed she was investing in overseas retirement apartments.
Fake Missing Persons Complaint
People have been asked to share fake online posts about missing people.
Almost the same post is shared worldwide, but with a changed location. Comments on the post were turned off so people couldn’t alert others to the inconsistencies.
After the post got a lot of likes, it was edited into something different, like an investment scam – a lot of likes added credibility.
which? It is recommended to only share posts from official organisations, such as the police or missing persons charities.
When people receive a “payment request” from a real PayPal address – this may appear genuine, but scammers can send fake payment requests, often for high value items, or pretend to be HMRC to claim “overdue” tax payments.
Don’t pay PayPal invoices you don’t recognize or call a phone number on those invoices, which? explain.
Fake App Scam
Apps that install malware on phones, steal data and perpetuate scams.
App stores did take steps to address this, but the threat remains. When installing an app, click on the developer’s name to see what other apps it made. Also check that the app’s permission requests, such as requests to use the camera, are not relevant to the app’s functionality.
Also keep in mind that app reviews can be fake.
Scammers pretending to be real suppliers
Text messages tell thousands they’ve fallen victim to £48m scam
People who think they may have been scammed should contact their payment provider and report the scam to Action Fraud.
Earlier this month, Government releases a new strategy to tackle fraud – The promotion of all financial products, such as those related to insurance or false encryption schemes, is prohibited.
The government also plans to work with Ofcom to tackle number spoofing so scammers cannot pass off as legitimate UK phone numbers.
The plans would allow banks to delay processing payments longer to allow suspicious transactions to be investigated.