Scammers Have Better Technology But Not New Ideas

September 30, 2020

Scammers are opportunists. They use anything and everything to con people out of their valuables and the Internet is the best tool in a scammer’s toolbox. Scammers might be armed with advanced technology, but their scam ideas are not. Because scammers are not original, they are predictable but sophisticated. The Journal of Cyber Policy wrote about scammers in “New Techniques, Same Old Phone Scams.”

A classic scam technique are “too good to be true offers” such as free vacations or investment opportunities. Scam artists make robocalls with these offers and they used to be detectable because they were from out of state numbers. Spoof technology, however, makes these robocalls using local area numbers, making it harder to detect the scams. In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission reported that people $667 million to scammers, mostly they were paid with gift cards.

Scammers’ sophistication levels are rising too. There are entire call centers in Asia and Africa dedicated to making scam calls. These call centers masquerade as reputable businesses such as Apple, Amazon, PayPal, banks, etc., and attempt to convince people that an account has been breached, late on payments, or their identity (ironically) was stolen. Companies and banks never randomly email or call asking to confirm sensitive information. They advise people to delete the emails or hang up on callers.

Another new scam is calling people claiming that a relative is facing legal action. This scam calls entire members of a family and when the person in question calls the scammer it turns out they need to share their social security number and date of birth. It is an excellent tactic, because it questions people’s reputation and makes them believe they are in legal trouble.

Scammers are using the same tactics as they have for centuries, but being wise to their ways prevents theft:

“As phone scams continue to evolve, it is helpful to know the warning signs. Always be wary of unsolicited callers, even if you are familiar with the company from which they claim to be calling. Scammers will use the threat of jail time or a fine to induce the victim into a state of fear — pressuring the victim into handing over sensitive information. If the caller requests financial or other sensitive information, hang up and call the company back directly (through a number you can verify) to inquire about this issue. The FCC Tip Card is a brief, yet valuable, resource that provides information on spoofing scams. It would also be wise to register your phone number with the National Do No Call Registry. Afterward, you shouldn’t receive telemarketing calls, and if you do, there’s a good chance they are a scam. As we continue to interact in this ever-evolving virtual world, we must remain on high alert against the deception of persistent fraudsters who are using new techniques for the same old phone scams.”

This is why it is important to read and watch the news, so you are aware of potential threats.

Whitney Grace, September 30, 2020


Got something to say?

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta