Ruthless Scams To Look Out For In 2024

Vikki BournerWritten by Vikki Bourner, on 18 Jun, 2024

As technology advances at a lightning pace, so do the tactics used by scammers to defraud unsuspecting victims. In 2024, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and informed about the most common scams doing the rounds. Are scams on the rise? Unfortunately, yes – criminals are constantly evolving their methods to exploit new vulnerabilities. Knowing which scams to look out for can help you avoid becoming a victim of their new tactics.

Which scams to look out for:

Scams to look out for include Phishing and fake online stores.

Here is a rundown of which scams to look out for throughout 2024.

1. Phishing scams

Email phishing: Fake emails posing as legitimate companies to trick you into giving out your personal information.

Smishing: Phishing through SMS/text messages. 

Vishing: Phishing through voice calls or voicemails on your mobile or home phone.

2. Social engineering scams 

Pretexting: Creating a fake scenario to establish trust & gain your personal details.

Baiting: Luring victims with an enticing offer to steal personal information.

Quid pro quo: Requesting personal & sensitive information in exchange for a service or benefit.

3. Investment scams

Ponzi schemes: Using funds from new investors to pay fake “returns” to earlier investors.

Pyramid schemes: Having to recruit others to make money with no real product to sell.

Pump & dump: Inflating stock prices through misinformation to sell overvalued shares.

4. Online shopping scams

Fake online stores that never deliver products that you ordered & paid for.

Non-delivery of purchased items, no matter how much you chase them or complain.

Overpayment scams ask you to refund the excess amount.

5. Tech support scams

Cold callers falsely claim to provide tech support to charge fees. If you didn’t know you had an issue, how can they?

Fake pop-ups about computer infections to gain remote access – again, only the scammer would know about this ‘virus’.

6. Lottery/Prize scams

Being told you won a lottery you never entered to try & extract fees from you.

Fake sweepstakes winnings require upfront payments to receive them.

7. Romance scams

Developing fake relationships online to exploit victims financially. 

Beware of romance scams & money requests.

8. Impersonation scams 

Posing as tax authorities, government agencies or family in distress to gain information or money.

Grandparents/family scams asking you to transfer money to them urgently.

9. Charity scams

Soliciting donations to fake charities, often after disasters.

10. Work-from-home scams

Pyramid schemes (#2) are disguised as legitimate jobs like envelope stuffing. 

Having to pay upfront for information on mystery shopping roles or to apply for a job.

11. Rental/Real estate scams

Listing fake rental properties that don’t exist or aren’t available to take ‘deposits’.

Foreclosure rescue scams targeting struggling homeowners.

12. Advance-fee scams

Promising large sums if you pay small upfront fees (e.g. Nigerian Prince).

Charging fees for loans that don’t exist.

13. Identity theft

Account takeovers using your personal info to access accounts & draw out funds.

Opening new accounts in your name with stolen details, to gain credit for money they don’t intend to pay back. 

14. Insurance fraud

Submitting false claims or charging for services not rendered.

Staging accidents to make fraudulent auto insurance claims.

15. Travel scams 

Luring with too-good-to-be-true vacation packages that don’t exist.

Misleading timeshare sales with hidden costs or obligations.

16. Credit card scams

Skimming devices & stealing your card information during transactions without your knowledge.

Racking up small, hard-to-notice charges (phantom charges) over months & years.

Watch out for scams where you're asked for payment.

This is a comprehensive list, but still, scams are continuously evolving. That’s why it’s so important to keep informed about the latest tactics used by scammers. If an offer seems suspicious or too good to be true, it likely is a scam. Read our blog on how to spot a scam for more details on the intricacies of scammer behaviour.

Who do scams target?

While scams can target anyone, certain demographics may be more vulnerable. Seniors, for instance, are often targeted due to perceived wealth and trusting nature. However, scammers don’t discriminate – they’ll go after anyone they think they can exploit.

Reporting scams

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam, it’s crucial to report it immediately. By reporting scams, you not only protect yourself but also help authorities track down the perpetrators and prevent others from becoming victims. And although there seems to be some stigma and self-blame when it comes to being victimised by fraudsters, trust us when we say that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Scammers are professionals at what they do. They know how to trigger the right emotions to steal from you. Being scammed is no different than being stolen from in the street – you don’t see it coming and it is the criminal who is to blame. #NoBlameNoShame. You can learn how to report a scam and more about why it’s so important in our dedicated blog post.

Report scams to the authorties to protect others

Protecting yourself with CallGuard

At Phonely, we understand the devastating impact scams can have, especially on vulnerable individuals. That’s why we’ve developed CallGuard, a unique and robust telephone scam protection system. With features like call blocking, call recording, and alerts to trusted contacts, CallGuard acts as a powerful barrier against scammers, giving you the confidence to answer your phone without fear. You can learn more about how CallGuard works to safeguard you from telephone scams in our detailed blog post.

Stay informed, stay vigilant

As scams continue to evolve, it’s essential to stay informed about the latest tactics and methods used by scammers. By knowing what scams to look out for and what’s doing the rounds, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones. Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts, and don’t hesitate to report any suspicious activity.

To keep updated with the newest scams, sign up for our newsletter below, join our scam watch community or follow us on one of our social media channels.

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