As with all things, technology makes life easier for some and harder for others. In this case, the easier one is the cheater.
A new study released by the Better Business Bureau found that online fraud has increased “dramatically” since 2015. The number of internet-based scams increased by 87%, while phone fraud reports decreased by 42%.
“The shift in fraud tactics is driven by a variety of factors, including the rise of social media, world events, and changes in consumer behavior,” said Melissa Trampower, Director of the Institute.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed various phone and online scams committed by people who knew the victim.
Older people are more likely to be victims of personal fraud, while younger people are more likely to report Internet-driven scams, says Det. Brandon Elders.
“For our young victims, we see more financial transactions than sales on social media sites,” said Elders. “The most common in Jackson County is the Facebook Marketplace.”
He warns about common ways people are tricked through social media pitches.
This person advertises products on secure sites that offer buyer protection, such as marketplaces. When a buyer expresses interest, the seller communicates outside the protected platform and asks to be paid in a different way than the protected platform recommends.
In another online scam, the seller takes payment and never mails the purchased item.
A third type of fraud the JCSO sees is merchants getting scammed. Scammers use stolen credit cards to deliberately overpay the asking price. They later contacted the seller claiming they had made a mistake and asked for a partial refund.
“Victims will be refunded for the excess amount, but the original payment will be denied and will not be credited to the seller’s account,” said Elders. “So the victim is forced to pay the bills and the criminal is pocketing the money.”
Scams against older victims are often carried out by someone the victim knows, such as a caretaker, family member, or co-worker.
Seniors encourage family members and caregivers of seniors to help monitor their daily financial transactions. By doing so, fraudulent transactions can be detected early.
55% of respondents to the BBB survey have been scammed by online scams and 75% report losing money.
Although phone scams are declining, scammers still use phone scams, especially mobile phones, to trick victims. Text message fraud increased from 11% for him in 2015 to 30% for him in 2022. In many cases, these messages were gateways used to lure people into Internet scams using social media and websites.
One of the phone scams seniors warn about is callers asking for an advance payment to win more money from a sweepstakes or contest the victim never participated in.
Investigating internet and phone fraud can be difficult.
“Some of the problems we run into with investigations are that most offenders/suspects are foreign actors,” Elders said.
When nearly three-quarters of survey participants were involved in fraud, 70% told BBB that their reason for staying with the scammer was because they thought they would get something in return, wanted to sell something, or He said he was just curious. contact.
“They feared losing something, were threatened, or thought they had an emergency to deal with,” said the BBB report.
This report analyzes Internet fraud that resulted in financial losses.
Online purchase fraud was the most common, at 89%. The second most common scam involved cryptocurrencies at 87%. Lonely Heart or Romance Scams came in third at 85%, followed by Investment Scams at 73%, Employment Scams at 68% and Government Subsidy Scams at 64%.
Victims were most frequently targeted on social media, followed by online shopping, email, search engines, and job searches.
Elders provided the following tips to protect yourself from internet scammers.
Do not provide personal information in response to unsolicited requests. If you think your contact is illegal, call your financial institution yourself.
Never give your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request.
Please check your account statements regularly to ensure that all charges are correct.
Legitimate businesses do not conduct financial transactions or accept payments using gift cards. In particular, I never buy multiple gift cards.
There are steps a victim can take to protect themselves if they believe they have been deceived.
“You should contact your creditors and ask them to close the account or change the account number,” Elders said. “Then they can order and read credit reports accurately. They should also have fraud warnings on their credit files. You can also file a complaint with ic3.gov.”