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The most common scams of 2022, and how to avoid them


The pandemic has presented more opportunities for fraudsters to trick customers out of their money.

For instance in the UK, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute discovered a scheme in which you are sent a text message pretending to be the NHS that says: "We have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine."

Then at the end of the message, there is a link to a fake website made up to look like a real NHS platform.

The website asks for details, including address, name, and bank details, for verification. 


The NHS has told people it will never ask for details about their passwords, bank account, or PINs.

There are many more scams out there, so we've looked at some you need to be aware of.

Synthetic identity fraud

According to management consultancy firm McKinsey, synthetic identity fraud is relatively new and is the quickest growing economic crime in the US.

It catches criminals creating fake personas using stolen personal information from real people and made-up details to fill out the gaps.

For instance, a synthetic identity could use your actual address to pass identity checks but with a completely fake name. The fraudster will use this identity to conduct transactions and open accounts.

There is 'no victim,' as the person named on the account doesn't exist, but for example, using your address could harm your credit score.

This kind of fraud is hard for companies to prevent and detect.

Still, you can restrict your chances of allowing synthetic identity fraud by biometrics while being vigilant for signs of fraud and using strong passwords.

New account fraud

Criminals will use stolen credentials to open up accounts in your name.

For example, they could get hold of your personal information on the dark web before using it to sidestep identity checks and open new loan accounts.

The American risk-management specialist says that nearly half of all fraud affects accounts less than 24 hours old.

It is essential to be observant of your personal information, whether the post you have put in the trash or data you put onto a website.

All documents should be shredded, and you should always check the genuineness of any site before giving personal information.

Professionals advise you to take care when posting on social media, as fraudsters could make a fake profile using photographs and other details you supply.

Authorized Push Payments (APP)

This is where fraudsters fool you into sending money from your account to theirs.

According to experts, APP is a very practical, trending, and maybe the most significant threat to consumers in 2022.

Gus Tomlinson at GBG said: "Imagine a fraudster hacks your information and then, when you go to make a significant payment for a deposit, say, you are phoned or emailed by the fraudster who gets you, as a willing victim, to transfer the money voluntarily – but to the wrong destination account.

"We always think organisations check the identity of consumers to stop fraud, but it is equally important for consumers to be certain of what they are doing before they take any action."

Transaction fraud

This is when fraudsters make payments with stolen information. The information is generally gained by phishing attacks that mislead consumers into thinking they're negotiating with a trusted business and voluntarily sharing the details with a fraudster.

With most of our everyday lives revolving online due to working from home and the increased usage of social media, transaction fraudsters have more chances than ever to trick those who let their guards down.

The best way to deal with this is to properly check emails that proclaim to be from reputable senders. One way to do this is to look at the URLs behind hyperlinks and look for emails with apparent spelling errors.

If contacted by phone, never share personal information with the caller.

Instead, call the company using its official number to confirm the call.

Account takeover

Account takeover is online identity theft. It's when criminals pretend to be you to access your accounts and then carry out unauthorized transactions.

For example, a fraudster could gain access account using stolen details and use it to make bank transfers to different accounts. They may also change your account passwords or emails to lock you out or hide their tracks, while some will sell access to your account to other fraudsters.

According to Sift, a payment fraud solutions company, attempts rose 282 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Using more security such as Touch ID can make it harder for fraudsters and give you an extra layer of defense against account takeover fraud.

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