In 2022, Australians fell victim to investment and cryptocurrency-related scams, losing $242.5 million (US$166 million). In the United Kingdom (UK), a total of over £2.3 billion was lost in 2021 because of various scams, including online shopping, dating or romance and investment fraud.
Meanwhile, American consumers lost more than US$1 billion as a result of cryptocurrency scams between January 2021 and March 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Fraud is, of course, widespread globally, and people in different countries have been victims of such unscrupulous activities.
All manner of fraud continues to rise, and con artists are getting better at getting their hands on other people’s money and personal information. The sad thing, of course, is that even when it’s all in a day’s work for a scammer, a fraud victim might experience a very difficult period in their life, and the results of a fraud incident could be life-altering.
As scams evolve and advance, here’s what you can do to protect yourself.
1. Never act on a scammer’s instructions.
Scammers pressure people to act immediately for them to succeed. They’ll ask you to click on a link, share personal or financial information or send money. Don’t let them manipulate you.
Instead, watch out for warning signs, including foreign phone numbers, recently launched websites, investments that promise to generate more than usual rates of return or cold contacts claiming to be from respectable businesses.
2. Question the legitimacy of an offer.
The adage ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ applies to scam activities. Most offers or promised rewards tend to be very valuable to entice prospective victims into acting quickly on the instructions of the scammer.
3. Investigate, research and conduct due diligence.
Take time to carry out your own due diligence by checking with unbiased sources. Speak with your financial advisor if you have one before making an investment.
4. Block unknown numbers and email addresses.
Make sure you block the numbers and email IDs of senders of scam messages. This is a very easy thing to do and can discourage scammers from sending more in the future.
5. Report them to the authorities.
Whether you’re being asked to divulge personal or financial information, click on a link, text or call a number or send or deposit money, do nothing. Instead, report the incident to the authorities so that action can be taken against them.
As scammers become more brazen and increasingly sophisticated, it’s crucial to arm yourself with the latest information on how to not become one of their victims.
By following the above tips, you can avoid becoming a victim of fraud and help beat scammers at their own game.
If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.