Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to scam people. According to the FTC, Americans lost $6.1 billion to scams last year! Many of the scams in 2022 are variants that have been around for years, but here are the top five hottest scams throughout the year so far.
1. Cryptocurrency Scams
These scams entice you with celebrity endorsements and promises of easy money to try to trick you into downloading harmful apps and exposing your personal information.
These scams also employ phishing emails embedded with fake links, which, when opened, take you to a fake crypto trading website that looks identical to a legitimate one. It can be exceptionally hard to tell a fake site apart from a real one. Click here for an example.
Cryptocurrency scams also come in other forms, which often involve free items, enticing prizes, or easy investments. Click here to see the latest crypto scams.
2. Online Shopping Scams
Scammers use fake online shops offering great discounts to lure people into buying items. However, buyers will not receive the items they order. Always look for red flags like too-good-to-be-true prices and discounts, incomplete item descriptions, and aggressive sales tactics.
Also, we’ve seen a lot of phishing text messages impersonating famous brands like Amazon, Costco, Walmart, and Best Buy that promote fake lucky draw campaigns and free giveaways.
3. Employment Scams
The pandemic has had a negative impact on employment, and people are eager to seek out new opportunities. You might receive text messages and emails appearing to be from well-known companies, but they may contain links that will install malicious apps or lead you to phishing websites.
Some scammers even conduct fake job interviews. There is no job, but they will collect the personal information from your application form or ask you to buy equipment or pay for training sessions — just stealing your money.
We’ve also seen some websites claiming to offer WFH social media jobs offering high pay with no experience required! Sounds great, but often too good to be true.
4. Romance scams
Romance scams aren’t new, but their popularity continues to increase. Scammers create fake profiles on social media and dating apps to look for victims. After they gain your trust, they will ask you to send money or buy items for them.
Sugar daddy scams are also trending these days. They target young women who are in difficult financial situations. However, before they receive any money, they will be asked to share their personal information or even send some of their money through PayPal, Venmo, and other online payment methods for “verification”.
5. COVID-19 Scams
Scammers promote a non-existing COVID-19 benefit program and prompt you to apply for it via phishing links. Check here for the latest examples.
Some criminals pretend to be from your insurance company to get personal information, such as your full name, address, and medical status. It is recommended to hang up and not give any information, then call the number written on your insurance card to confirm whether the phone call was legitimate.
Tips to avoid online scams
- Be skeptical. Never share personal information such as email addresses, passwords, your name and address, or other information that may help scammers steal your identity.
- Use Trend Micro Check to detect scams and stop spam text messages for FREE.
- Enable two-factor authentication. Adding this feature to your accounts will enhance its security.
- Do your research before purchasing items. Take a few minutes to review the company. One easy way to check if it’s legitimate is to do a web search for its name and then add the words “scam” or “reviews”.
- Be cautious of suspicious payment requirements. Scammers often ask for payments via wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or gift card, which are harder to track and cancel than other payment forms.