Emerging Scams To Watch Out For In 2024
As we stride into 2024, the digital landscape continues to evolve, bringing forth new and sophisticated scams that demand our attention. NAB has recently published an article that unveils some of these emerging scams on the horizon, each designed to exploit unsuspecting individuals. From AI voice impersonation to QR code phishing, these scams pose real dangers to our digital, financial, and mental well-being.
Chief Digital Officer of NAB, Sujeet Rana, joined the Today Show to present some of the findings from the article, along with tips on how to recognise these scams. You can watch the segment here and then delve deeper with our full breakdown below.
AI Voice Impersonation Scams
AI voice impersonation scams are an evolved version of the ‘Hi Mum’ scam from 2022, but instead of receiving a text message, victims receive a distress call from a “loved one”. During the call, money will be demanded from the target due to a supposed crisis. All of this is done using an AI-synthesized voice of the target’s loved one, which can be generated from as little as three seconds of audio sourced from social media, voicemails, or online videos.
NAB Manager of Security Advisory and Awareness, Laura Hartley, warns that NAB customers are yet to report these emerging scams, but “…they are happening in the UK and US, in particular, and anticipate it’s just a matter of time before these scams head down under.”
- If you receive a distress call like this, it’s crucial to confirm that the caller is who they say they are. Hang up the phone and call your loved one using a trusted contact number you have used before.
- Be wary of urgent requests for money and secrecy pleas as these can be telling signs of a scammer at work.
Remote Access Scams
Remote access scams are on the rise, with an emerging trend of using web chats rather than phone calls to make contact.
Scammers persuade targets to download an app, granting them remote access to the target’s computer. Once in, they will attempt to extract banking details and personal information that can result in significant losses for victims.
- Be mindful of pop-up messages claiming device compromise and urging you to make contact.
- Be wary of unexpected phone calls claiming to be from reputable entities seeking device access for “virus removal” or “troubleshooting” purposes.
- Verify the legitimacy of the call by contacting the entity using the contact details found at a trusted source like their official website.
- NEVER give anyone remote access to your device before confirming their identity.
- Keep your computer software and applications up to date.
Term Deposit Investment Scams
As Australians grapple with rising living costs, scammers are exploiting the situation through term deposit scams, mimicking banks, or financial entities. These scams are a prevalent form of investment fraud and present enticing offers with high returns and professional follow-ups.
- Be wary of unsolicited term deposit offers, particularly if they claim to beat inflation or ensure exceptionally high returns.
- Confirm if the advisor holds an Australian Financial Services license.
- Verify the identity of the advisor.
- Look for the advisor’s offering on the official company website.
- Seek independent financial advice.
Opportunistic scammers are seizing the chance to prey on fans amidst Australia’s thrilling events throughout the year. Aware that enthusiasts, eager for tickets, may explore alternative avenues, scammers adeptly list “tickets for sale” on social media or engage with individuals seeking to purchase tickets. It’s crucial to note that social media transactions, especially those conducted through chats rather than formal listings, often lack the protective measures necessary to thwart these scams.
- Performing a reverse image search on tickets or proof of purchase can help identify scams if there are matches on other websites.
- Be cautious if you find tickets for sale on social media, particularly if they are for in-demand events and/or are heavily discounted.
- Wherever possible, buy tickets through official sellers or resellers.
- Scrutinise the profile of the seller. Take note of the creation date, past activity, and if they have any reviews. Newly created accounts with little to no history should be treated with extreme caution.
Romance scammers aim to steal your heart and your money. These scams are typically initiated on dating apps or social media and can unfold very quickly or span months or years. They can take a severe financial and emotional toll on victims.
- Be cautious if the person you’re talking to expresses strong feelings for you very early on.
- Look for inconsistencies between their profile(s) and what you see or hear when communicating with them.
- Keep the chat on the social media platform or dating app. Don’t move to a private channel if requested.
- Be wary if they make requests for money or make excuses as to why they can’t video call with you.
- Put any photos on the person’s profile or that they they send to you through a reverse image search to see if they appear anywhere else on the internet. These photos may actually belong to other people.
QR Code Phishing Scams
Also known as ‘quishing’, QR code fishing is when criminals attempt to trick people into scanning a QR code which leads to a malicious website or download link. These QR codes can be sent by criminals digitally, like via email, but can also be printed and placed on physical objects. The physical codes can be particularly sneaky as they can be positioned on top of existing ones, or placed where people might expect to see QR codes such as in public places offering free Wi-Fi or at parking payment stations.
- When scanning a QR code, always check the URL before following through to ensure that the code is taking you where you’re expecting it to.
- Be cautious of unsolicited QR codes received digitally from unknown senders.
- Sometimes QR codes might request for you to download an app after scanning. Instead, search for the app on the appropriate app store and download it directly from there to help ensure that you are downloading a legitimate app through a legitimate channel.
- Look carefully at physical QR codes to ensure that they have not been tampered with before scanning.
In the dynamic realm of digital interactions, these emerging scams underscore the importance of remaining vigilant. As we bid farewell to 2023, let’s carry forward the lessons learned and arm ourselves against evolving threats. Our awareness is our greatest defence.
Stay cautious, verify, and empower yourself with the knowledge shared here to ensure a secure online journey in 2024 and beyond. Together, let’s navigate the digital landscape with wisdom and resilience.