ZDNet reported that BEC scams have caused $1.8m in losses in 2020 but they’ve also found that losses caused by romance scams are up from $475m in 2019 to $600m in 2020.
<p>Throughout the pandemic, cybercriminals have captialised on people’s vulnerabilities and situations to craft convincing social engineering attacks and phishing scams. The rise in romance fraud illustrates just how they’re exploiting the ‘lockdown loneliness’ for financial gain.</p> <p> </p> <p>It’s so important to consider how you could be targeted and to question any requests you receive from individuals you do not know. Establishing trust is a key part of deceiving someone online. Cybercriminals will play the long-game, using a fake identity and exchanging several messages to earn victims’ trust before asking for money or financial information in emails or DMs. The tell-tale signs of a scam can, therefore, be hard to spot.</p> <p> </p> <p>As social distancing restrictions remain in place, we advise that people verify the identity of someone you are speaking to via a video call and remain suspicious of any unusual requests. If anyone thinks they may have already been targeted by a romance scam contact Action Fraud immediately.</p> <p> </p> <p>Tessian shares the following advice to help people avoid these scams:</p> <ul> <li>Never send money or a gift online to someone who you haven’t met in person.</li> <li>Be suspicious of requests from someone you’ve met on the internet. Scammers will often ask for money via wire transfers or reload cards because they’re difficult to reverse.</li> <li>Verify your correspondent’s identity via a video call.</li> <li>Be wary of any email or DM you receive from someone you don’t know. Never click on a link or download an attachment from an unusual email address.</li> <li>Keep social media profiles and posts private. Don’t accept friend requests or DMs from people you don’t know personally.</li> </ul>
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