Scammers rarely take a day off. They are constantly targeting consumers with their schemes in hopes of stealing their money or personal information.
To help keep consumers stay informed about the trending scams, ConsumerAffairs is partnering with cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, starting in May, to provide a weekly Threat Alert. We’ll inform readers about the scams that are increasing the most and who they appear to be targeting.
For example, tax-related scams picked up momentum in early to mid-April as the federal income tax filing deadline approached. The Trend Micro research team detected 313,225 tax-related from Jan. 1 to Apr. 17, with attacks rising 4.8% in the last eight days before the filing deadline.
“This tax season, we saw a 248.9% increase in detected tax scams in January and February compared to last year's timeframe,” Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence, told ConsumerAffairs.
Clay said the scams involved intercepting payments, redirecting refunds, and causing havoc on the average American consumer.
Travel Scams are gaining momentum
In recent weeks, Trend Micro reports an increase in travel-related scams. Clay says these schemes are taking different forms but most involve impersonations.
“As people and businesses return to traveling, scammers target travelers with a host of scams using Airbnb and booking.com phishing attacks, Clay told us.
Scammers, of course, try to exploit holidays and with Mother’s Day coming up soon, Clay says Trend Micro blocked almost 200,000 fake shopping URLs last week. Oddly, over half of the victims reside in Oregon.
Consumers should also look out for survey scams that promise rewards of some kind. Usually, these scams are seeking personal information, including bank account numbers.
The Trend Micro research team found scammers, posing as Costco, were using a smartwatch as bait to invite users to participate in a short survey, then ask for their personal information.
Other scammers posing as Walmart asked customers to participate short survey to get a $500 Walmart gift card as a reward for getting their personal and credit card information.
Many of this month's most active scams involve phishing attempts with scammers impersonating well-known companies. Among scammer’s favorites are Amazon and Netflix.
For example, the Trend Micro research team identified scammers using security issues to inform users their Amazon accounts had been suspended and redirecting them to verify their account on a fake log-in website with victims’ personal information.
Scammers impersonated Netflix to ask customers to update their payment details – a scheme to get victims’ personal and financial information. Trend Micro said 568 logs were found on April 22nd.