The rise of the social media age has made it increasingly common for scammers to trick everyday users. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram are the platforms where 60% of last year’s scam cases were reported from, as revealed by Revolut. It is reported that purchase scams as well as investment scams were at the top of the list.
What Is Investment Fraud?
Investment fraud is a type of scam where money is invested, usually towards items of value. Instead of you being able to make money off of these items, they usually turn out to be worthless, or didn’t exist to begin with. Investments such as shares and land, or gold, wine, and art are examples.
These scams are typically run from places called ‘boiler rooms’, where fraudsters make lots of calls trying to get as many people as possible to invest in their fake schemes.
They use legit websites with domains, and marketing material, as a way to make their offer seem real and convincing.
They often promise big returns on your investment and might even pressure you to make a decision quickly without giving you time to think about it.
What Is Purchasing Fraud?
Purchasing fraud is when you buy items online that turn out to be not as described, or the items never arrive at all. Often, these goods include popular items like mobile phones, vehicles, and designer brands offered at tempting prices.
Those carrying out these scams use the internet to their advantage, creating fake listings on auction sites, setting up bogus online stores, or reaching out directly via email. They’re skilled at making their operations look genuine, using high-quality images (often stolen from legitimate sites) and creating fake reviews to build trust.
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Other Types of Scams and Fraud in the UK
Mass Marketing Scams
Mass marketing scams trick people into paying for things they never get or for goods and services of much lower quality than promised. These scams can also pressure people into buying something they don’t want or use fake identities to commit fraud.
Victims are lured into participating in fake lotteries or gambling schemes. They’re often told they’ve won a prize but need to pay a fee to claim it. These scams are usually spread through emails, letters, or phone calls.
These scams promise easy money through work-from-home jobs, pyramid schemes, or internet matrix scams. Victims pay to join but end up making nothing. The jobs offered, like stuffing envelopes or assembling kits, don’t exist.
Bogus Products and Services
Scammers sell fake or non-existent products and services. This includes miracle health cures, clairvoyant predictions, and nonexistent holiday clubs. Victims pay for something that doesn’t work or doesn’t exist.
This is where someone else’s identity is illegally used, and without consent, to gain money or avoid obligations. This can range from using stolen credit cards to creating new accounts in someone else’s name. The fraudsters might also take over existing accounts to steal money.
Scams Against Small Businesses
Small businesses face specific scams like false invoices or fake advertisements. Some scammers even commit corporate identity fraud, using a business’s details to trick their clients or commit other frauds.