Scam artists aren’t slowing down in 2023. They’ll likely take what they’ve learned over the past few years and continue to evolve their attempts to gain financially at your expense.
Changes in the economy often lead to an increase in scams and the number of people financially affected by them. Federal Trade Commission data shows that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70% from the previous year. Within the category of cyber fraud, increasingly common types of scams include student loan fraud, debit and credit card fraud, business email compromise (BEC), and email scams. use. Stay informed about these emerging trends in commercial and consumer fraud to ensure you are doing what you can to protect yourself and your business:
Work email compromised
Due to an increase in the number of remote workers, this scam has become quite common. For example, business owners may receive an email that appears to be from one of your vendors or your company’s CEO requesting a payment that is due. They may provide you with a Venmo or Zelle account or a new bank account number to replace the legitimate payment information you have on file.
The scammer may have a similar email address, perhaps a different letter than the seller or with a dash or dot added. In some cases, the scammer could even have duplicated the provider’s email address. Once a wire transfer is sent, the chance of getting funds back is very low.
BEC takes advantage of workers trying to get things done and may not have the right person nearby to ask quickly. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in 2021 the IC3 received 19,954 BEC and Email Account Compromise (EAC) complaints with adjusted losses of nearly $2.4 billion.
Scammers often take advantage of job seekers. They know how to target
those who are eager to find a new opportunity. Often the scammer promises remote work, such as payment processing or secret shopper work. The scammer may tell you that they need to send you money – they may even ask for your online banking login credentials or account number so you can get paid. Instead, they send you a forged check or transfer you stolen funds to another scam. The scammer will often tell you not to tell your bank, which is part of the scam. A scammer may ask you to buy gift cards and read them the redemption codes from the card.
Virtual Debit and Credit Card Fraud
E-payment fraud has increased as more people shop online for everything from shoes and school supplies to cleaning supplies and basic groceries. Once you search for a product, targeted advertisements appear for that product everywhere you browse online, enticing you to make a purchase. However, not all of these advertisements and the websites they link to are legitimate. You can order shoes or school supplies and never receive them.
While scammers are doing their best to stay ahead, both technologically and creatively,
remember that more traditional scams have not gone away. According to a 2022 survey by The Harris Poll, 68.4 million Americans have been victims of a phone scam in the past 12 months. There has recently been an upsurge in telephone fraud. If you receive unusual calls or emails claiming to be from your financial institution and asking for your personal or account information, such as your online banking credentials, do not respond.
Your bank will not request your personal information (e.g. account number, social security number, PIN, user ID, debit card number, passwords or any other verification code) via email, US Postal Service mail, live or automated phone call or text message.
Likewise, do not respond to an urgent email, phone call, or text message asking you to activate or update an account. If in doubt, contact the account provider directly via an email address or support phone number found directly on their website, rather than replying to the message in question. If you suspect your bank accounts have been hacked, contact your bank immediately.
Student loan fraud
There are several tactics used by scammers that borrowers should be aware of, so you can protect yourself and your finances. Never pay to apply for federal student loan relief. If someone contacts you to request payment, guarantee approval, or promise a faster forgiveness process, you are the target of a scammer. Pay close attention to the sender address if you receive an email regarding debt relief, as typos or random letters indicate a fraudulent email address. During the application process, no one should ask for your bank account or credit card information. For more information on the Federal Student Loan Debt Relief Fraud, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.
How banks can protect their customers
The best defense a bank or financial institution can offer its customers is cross-effort. We anticipate that cyber fraud and scams will remain a high risk, and attacks continue to grow in complexity and creativity. Fortunately, there are steps you can take today to protect yourself and your business:
- Research lenders and work directly with your banker to apply for loans.
- Check your credit report regularly to make sure no loan has been taken out in your name by a scammer.
- Work with your bank’s cash management department to take advantage of anti-fraud solutions that help protect your accounts from fraudulent activity.
Periodically review your fraud prevention plans and rely on experts to ensure that employees and customers are well informed about fraud. For more fraud prevention tips, check out our fraud prevention best practices and fraud prevention checklist for business owners. For additional fraud prevention articles and educational materials, visit enterprisebank.com/fraudprevention.
Enterprise Bank & Trust is a financial services partner whose goal is to guide people to a life of financial success. Through trusted personal relationships, we empower private businesses to succeed, help families secure their financial future, and invest to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.
Members of the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial and press team were not involved in the creation of this content.