Scams are growing increasingly sophisticated in the UK and fraudsters are always looking for new ways to trick their victims into handing over their hard-earned cash.
At the rate scams are evolving, it can be difficult to pinpoint which organisation, database, social media website or otherwise fraudsters might choose to target next.
But a new study published by NatWest bank in collaboration with research agency The Future Laboratory has tried to second-guess the short-term future of scams by identifying eight potential emerging threats for 2018.
Some of these are familiar scams which NatWest and The Future Laboratory believe will simply grow in popularity among fraudsters this year.
These include ‘conveyancing scams’, whereby hackers monitor emails between solicitors and homebuyers and manipulate the communications between them, and ‘social media spying’, which involves scammers traipsing through social media posts in order to glean – and later misuse – personal information and details.
However, the report also identifies several completely new scams the duo expect are likely to emerge. These include:
‘Bogus Brexit Investments’ – where fraudsters posing as banks are expected to contact consumers and encourage them to move their savings into bogus, fraudster-controlled investment accounts to bypass ‘Brexit affecting their savings’.
‘Wedding scams’ – which experts believe will involve fake wedding planning websites offering extravagant offers at too-good-to-be-true prices.
‘Fake World Cup tickets’ – which may include ‘package trips’ offered by bogus travel websites.
‘Money mule scams’ – the study suggests fraudsters could begin targeting low-income individuals with money laundering scams, whereby victims are encouraged to launder stolen funds with the offer of being able to keep a little money for themselves.
Other scams the report suggests could grow in prominence this year including fake dating app profiles, whereby fraudsters try to build a relationship with love-seekers in order to gain their trust and ask for financial favours, and malicious software scams, which experts claim are likely to continue to target smartphone users for the foreseeable future.