Be aware of these top five fraud trends happening here.
1. “Pig Butchering”
Named in reference to the practice of fattening a pig before slaughter, these scams often involve fraudsters contacting targets seemingly at random, then gaining trust before ultimately manipulating their targets into phony investments and disappearing with the funds.
Pig butchering schemes often start with solicitations of modest investments intended to bolster your confidence. They usually involve some type of fake claim or falsified dashboard that shows assets exponentially growing, with the intent being to encourage larger and larger investments.
Such scams have grown dramatically in recent years, with individual investors sometimes losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
2. Money Wiring Scams
Wiring money is just like sending cash in the mail. Once it’s gone, you probably won’t get it back — which explains why scammers tell you to pay that way.
Some scammers weave a complex web of lies to get you to wire them money. They might find you on a dating app, earn your trust, and then say they have an emergency. That’s when they ask you to wire them money right away. Or a scammer might be lurking on a resale website where you posted an item for sale. They’ll “accidentally” overpay you — and “helpfully” suggest that you wire back the extra money.
No matter what reason they give, never wire money to someone you haven’t met in person, who pressures you to pay immediately, or who says a wire transfer is the only way to pay. Only scammers ask you to do those things.
3. Mortgage Closing Homebuyer Scams
The FBI has reported that scammers are increasingly taking advantage of homebuyers during the closing process.
Scammers send spoofed emails to homebuyers – posing as the real estate agent, legal representative, or another trusted individual – with false instructions for wiring closing funds, attempting to divert your closing costs and down payment into a fraudulent account.
Never follow instructions contained in an email. Verify the closing instructions, including the account name and number, with your trusted representatives either in person or by using the phone number you previously agreed to. Do NOT email financial information. Email is never a secure way to send financial information.
4. Fake Technical Support Scams
Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus. They want you to pay for tech support services you don’t need, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They often ask you to pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card, or cash reload card, or using cryptocurrency or a money transfer app because they know those types of payments can be hard to reverse.
5. Fake Failed-Delivery Texts
Delivery scams and theft are particularly prevalent during the holidays when more packages are shipped, but they can happen year-round. Scammers are hoping shoppers are busy or distracted and will act without thinking.
Look out for phishing texts or emails that pose as official notices from delivery companies. These either contain a “tracking link,” a message that the shipper is having difficulty delivering a package to you, or, most recently, a link to update delivery preferences. Clicking the link either takes you to a form that asks for personally identifying information or to a site that downloads malware onto your computer.
Legitimate delivery services usually leave a “missed delivery” notice on your door. If you receive a missed delivery notice, examine the form carefully to make sure it is authentic, and only then follow their instructions. Keep track of what you’ve ordered to better understand what is coming and when. Don’t click on links; go to the delivery carrier’s website directly or log in and use the retailer’s tracking tools.
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