5 signs you’ve fallen for a scam – and what to do next
Unfortunately, scams are the price we pay for digital services at our fingertips. Though, these services make our lives easier in many ways, they offer ample opportunity for cybercriminals to attack. So, understanding the tactics they use is the key to prevention - the best approach when up against proactive scammers.
5 Signs you've been a victim of being scammed
1) Unusual transactions and/or new lines of credit
- If fraudsters have your data and/or financial details they may use it in payment fraud – where stolen card details and/or cards stored in hijacked accounts are used without your knowledge. Alternatively, they may use your identity info to apply for new credit cards. The first you’re likely to hear about the former is through strange activity on your bank account. If it’s a problem with NAF, it might be harder to spot until you get a letter or email notifying about late payments. Sometimes, the first users hear about NAF is when they check their credit score and/or get turned down by a lender.
2) Purchased item didn’t arrive
- E-commerce fraud is another growing problem. Scammers will often try to flog expensive gear online, usually at heavily marked down prices to attract buyers. Except there is no stock and they simply take the buyer’s money, requesting payment via instant cash apps like Zelle, Venmo and Cash App, which offer no buyer protection.
3) A romantic acquaintance disappears
- Romance fraud made scammers over $956m in 2021, according to the FBI. Even this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg, as many incidents go unreported because victims are too embarrassed to admit they were taken for a ride. A romance fraudster will typically build a rapport online with their victim before asking for money for various spurious requests such as medical bills, or transport costs. Once they feel their victim has nothing more to give, they’ll disappear, never to be heard from again.
4) Locked out of account(s)
- If a scammer has your logins then they will typically access your account and change the password. It could be anything from your social media to your Uber or Netflix account. These can be harvested for personal information, including stored credit card details. But they’re also a valuable commodity in their own right. Instagram accounts are worth $45 each, as opposed to $2 for a social security number, according to one report. This is because such accounts can be used to spam other users following your profile.
5) Unable to withdraw money from a crypto investment
- Investment fraud is another high earner. It made nearly $1.5bn in 2021, more than any other category of cybercrime except business email compromise. Investors are typically encouraged to put money in, perhaps even being shown fake returns on their investment. However, when you want to actually withdraw any of that money they’ll likely cut and run.
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