2021 has been a busy year for almost everyone; as government restrictions ease, people have been out and about more, going back to work and engaging with others online and by phone.
But this has created a spike in an issue that many people don’t think about or believe will never happen to them; scams.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2.3 billion has been lost to scams in the last year globally (2020-2021) and as a result, many people have lost savings, earnings and other important funds.
So what are the most common scams of 2021 and how can you spot, avoid and report them? A fraud solicitor answers below.
By far, still the most common of all scam types globally are phishing scams.
These occur when false emails, texts and phone calls are placed, trying to get you to reveal private information.
Phishing schemes also include emails containing false invoices from well-known companies that you haven’t ordered from.
These have become such a problem for banks that a myriad of letters and emails have been released stating that a bank will never ask you for your bank card or account details. So, be aware and if you suspect such a scam, contact the police and a solicitor trained in fraud to try and get some of the lost funds returned.
Credit card Fraud
Credit card fraud is another type of scam that is on the rise in 2021. This type of scam involves criminals stealing credit card numbers and using them to make unauthorized purchases. Credit card fraud can be difficult to spot and can cause serious financial damage to consumers. If recurring suspicious charges appear or accounts are opened fraudulently, it’s important to act quickly to limit the damage.
However, sometimes honest individuals may find themselves wrongly accused of credit card fraud through no fault of their own. This can happen due to identity theft, merchant error, or other mix-ups. When accused falsely, the situation must be handled delicately to clear your name. The first step should be reviewing statements and reporting any unknown charges to establish evidence that you did not make them. Additionally, you can seek the assistance of a defense theft lawyer promptly. They will provide you with invaluable guidance and support in formulating a robust defense strategy against the allegations.
Fake government agency
There was a common scam that used the guise of HMRC to alert people that they owed tax; this typically occurred via phone calls, pressuring people to pay money. Understandably, this is a very scary scam as not paying tax can result in prison time, so many people fell victim to it.
However, much like banks, HMRC has released statements saying that all of their communications on such matters are done via letter and they will never pressure people to pay money in such a way. Once again, if you suspect that you have paid into such a scam, contact the police.
Other phone scams
But with scammers, there is a lot of creativity used to get access to your money; many may pretend that they are calling from a company that will be able to fix your credit score, or even a charity looking for donations; this is more common around the Christmas period.
As before, charities typically ask for donations via letter and it is not likely that a company will fix your credit score for a fee.
So, stay alert and double-check all people who call you asking for money. If you are unsure, hang up the phone!
This occurs more via email and using pop-ups; a virus has been detected on your computer and you need to pay money to have it removed.
This allows scammers access to your bank or credit card account details. To avoid this, never provide remote access for your computer and avoid using public WiFi.
Online store scams
Buying online is common, but some people have fallen foul of scams involving fake online stores that have stolen their credit card information and run up the bill.
Never transfer money via wire transfers and always check the legitimacy of a store before purchase.