As we venture further into 2024, staying informed and vigilant against scams is more important than ever. Scammers continue to evolve their tactics, exploiting new technologies and finding sneakier ways to deceive people. This article highlights the top 5 scams of 2024, according to AARP, offering insights and tips on how to protect yourself.
1. Check Cooking Scam
Unlike the well-known check washing scam, "Check Cooking" involves digital manipulation. Thieves take a digital photo of a check and alter it using sophisticated software. The result is a phony check that looks incredibly real, complete with watermarks. These checks can either be printed or deposited directly using a bank's mobile app.
How to Stay Safe: Opt for electronic payments when possible. If you must use checks, hand-deliver them to a post office. Regularly monitor your bank statements for any unfamiliar transactions.
(Example Check Cooking Video Explanation: https://www.tiktok.com/@mrfender76/video/7055037525928332591)
2. Voiceprint Scams
Voiceprint scams involve recording your voice and creating a deepfake version to impersonate you. This technology can be used to access your financial accounts or personal information. The New York Times reported a case where a deepfake voice almost tricked a bank into transferring funds.
How to Stay Safe: Be cautious about answering unknown calls. If it's important, the caller can always text or email. Verify any unusual requests through a different communication channel.
3. Delayed-action Sweepstakes Scam
A modern twist on the classic sweepstakes scam, this version doesn't immediately ask for money. Instead, scammers request personal details under the guise of verifying your identity for a prize payout, leading to identity theft.
As reported by the Channel 2 News in Baltimore, A man named Thomas Johnson got a letter saying he won $450,000 from Publishers Clearing House. He thought it was real at first because it looked official and even mentioned health care savings. The letter told him to keep it secret and that he'd have to pay taxes and fees before getting his prize.
But Chris Irving, who works at Publishers Clearing House, said it was a fake letter. He explained that when they give out big prizes, they surprise winners in person with a check and don't ask for money upfront. Taxes on prizes are paid directly to the government, not to Publishers Clearing House.
Thomas figured out it was a scam and didn't send any money. The article mentions that there are a lot of these fake prize scams going around, and some people have been arrested for them. It warns everyone to be careful: if you get a letter, call, or email saying you won a prize but don't remember entering a contest, it's probably a scam. Don't answer these messages, don't send money, and don't give out your personal info. Publishers Clearing House has more tips on their website to help you spot scams.
How to Stay Safe: Remember, if you didn't enter a sweepstakes, you didn't win it. Hang up on such calls, and never share personal information with unknown parties.
4. Virtual Celebrity Scam
With celebrities increasingly engaging online, scammers impersonate them or their managers to connect with fans. They build trust and then concoct stories needing financial support.
An example of this scam was reported by The Guardian, warning people who use online dating sites about the danger of fake celebrity profiles after a woman lost over $5,000 to someone pretending to be TV chef James Martin. Police have received several reports in the past two months, including three cases where scammers pretended to be celebrities to deceive their victims into giving them money.
How to Stay Safe: Be skeptical of direct messages from celebrities. Verify the authenticity through official channels before responding or providing any assistance.
5. Multistage Grandparent Scam
This scam targets elderly individuals, with criminals posing as grandchildren in trouble. It has evolved into a more sophisticated operation, often involving call centers. The scammers seek large sums of money, claiming legal or medical emergencies.
How to Stay Safe: Always verify the caller's identity through another family member or friend. Be cautious and never act on requests for money without confirmation.
The best defense against these scams is awareness and skepticism. Always question unsolicited requests for personal information or money, and stay updated on the latest scamming techniques. By staying informed, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from these ever-evolving threats.
For enhanced digital security against scams you can use Genie.
The App That Keeps You Safe From Scammers: The Genie App
Have you ever worried that an email or text you got was a scam? Or do you get tired of bothersome calls that you don't want to answer? The Genie app is here to help! It's like having a helper right in your phone that watches out for you. Let's look at what it can do:
1. Is That Email or Text a Scam? Just Ask Genie!
Ever get a message and wonder if it's trying to trick you? Genie can help you figure that out, and you don't have to pay anything for it!
If you get a strange text, all you have to do is forward it to this number: +12515720340.
Genie will look it over and let you know if it's safe or not.
If you're not sure about an email, send it to this address: Ask@lifesgenie.com. Genie will check it for you and tell you if you should be worried.
And guess what? This is all free!
2. Don't Want Annoying Calls? Genie Can Handle That!
Getting calls from people you don't know can be irritating, or even scary. Genie can check who's calling you before you pick up. If it's someone you don't want to talk to, Genie will take care of it!
3. Make Your Voicemail Work Your Way Voicemail can be confusing. But Genie makes it easy. You can record your own greeting, so people hear your voice when they leave a message. And instead of listening to their message, Genie writes it down for you to read whenever you want!
Genie is like a helper that lives in your phone. It keeps an eye out for scams, blocks calls you don't want, and even takes care of your voicemail. So why not try Genie today?
Click the button below to learn more about Genie and how you can get started!
Wishing you joyous and safe new year!