In October 2023, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) reported 56 scams, according to online data. These scams covered a wide range of fraudulent activities that consumers need to be aware of.
One particular scam that caught attention was the “SNAP Phony Text Message Alert”. Criminals were found to be sending fraudulent text messages claiming that the recipient’s SNAP EBT card had been compromised. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) acknowledged receiving several reports regarding this scam.
Tech support scams also saw a significant increase in losses by August 2023. Consumers fell victim to these scams, resulting in substantial financial losses. As a result, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched an awareness campaign during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, urging the public to be cautious when using popular peer-to-peer payment apps.
Investment fraud emerged as the leading cause of financial losses among reported scams in 2022, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI IC3). A Cheshire woman recently pleaded guilty to fraud and tax offenses stemming from an embezzlement scheme that amounted to nearly $1 million in losses. The case highlights the seriousness of investment fraud and the need for increased vigilance.
Trusted organization scams, comprising 21% of reported scams, were identified as a significant threat. Scammers have been using social media platforms to target victims, often operating right under their noses. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network reported that Americans lost a staggering $2.7 billion to scams originating on social media between January 2021 and June 2023. This alarming figure emphasizes the need for caution and awareness when engaging with unknown entities on social media platforms.
One evolving form of cybercrime is the “Phantom hacker” scam. This scam is a variation of tech support scams, preying on unsuspecting individuals and exploiting their fear of cyberattacks.
As scams continue to evolve and criminals become increasingly sophisticated, it is crucial for consumers to stay informed and exercise caution. Awareness campaigns by organizations like the FBI and USDA aim to educate the public and empower them to protect themselves from falling victim to these scams.
In conclusion, the October 2023 scams roundup in the United States reveals the prevalence and diversity of fraudulent activities targeting consumers. By staying informed, being cautious, and adhering to recommended security practices, individuals can minimize the risk of becoming victims of these scams.