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January 18, 2024

Crisis level fraud: Experts warn of 5 financial scams in 2024.

Fraud cost U.S. consumers over $7 billion in the first three quarters of 2023, a 5% increase from the same period the previous year. With advanced technology, scammers are using artificial intelligence tools to impersonate individuals and make it more difficult for consumers to spot scams. Kathy Stokes, director of fraud prevention programs at AARP, stated that “fraud is at a crisis level in this country.” It is crucial for individuals to be aware of potential scams and to discuss them with family and friends, as research shows that awareness reduces the likelihood of engagement with scams by 80%. The FTC has identified five financial scams to watch out for in 2024:

  1. Grandparent scams: Scammers pretend to be family members in immediate danger or distress, and urgently request money.
  2. Romance scams: Scammers build online relationships, gain trust, then ask for money or assistance with investments.
  3. Cryptocurrency scams: Scammers use cryptocurrency as both the investment and the payment, taking advantage of the lack of legal protections and irreversible payments.
  4. Employment scams: Scammers create fake job opportunities or pose as employers to trick victims into sharing personal information or sending money.
  5. Online account tax scams: Scammers offer assistance in setting up online accounts to pay taxes but use the information to commit fraud or identity theft.

To avoid falling victim to these scams, individuals should be cautious of unknown callers or emails, never share personal information or financial details with strangers, and verify emergency requests with family members. It’s important to conduct research on unfamiliar companies or individuals, be skeptical of too-good-to-be-true offers, and set up accounts directly on official websites rather than using third-party assistance.