DENVER (KDVR) — Americans lost nearly $30 billion from phone scams alone in 2021. Security experts warn payment app schemes are on the rise this summer.
Noah, an artist, tells FOX31 that anyone who relies on apps to conduct transactions with the public should be vigilant about security practices.
“You can find stuff that’ll look like it’s from your bank, but actually it’s trying to get your bank info,” he said.
Chris Hadnagy is well aware of how scammers reach out to potential victims via email and phone calls.
“Every time there’s a new piece of technology, it seems that before we even get used to how to use it bad guys have figured out how to manipulate it and make it work against us,” Hadnagy said.
Hadnagy should know, he is a former hacker who was shutting down a phone system when he was 17 years old. Today, Hadnagy devotes his life and skills to help others by working with law enforcement to shut down hacking schemes.
Hadnagy is also CEO of the Social Engineer cybersecurity firm. He has written five books about security threats, including Social Engineering: The Science of Human Hacking, and runs a Twitter page to provide followers with warnings about current scams.
One scam running rampant this summer is based on making the victim believe they are talking to someone they are familiar with in order to obtain funds.
“They are saying ‘head over to CVS and grab some of those gift cards, then send me the numbers through one of those apps,’” Hadnagy said.
Another scam uses the credibility of legitimate peer-to-peer payment apps to trick victims into refunding a phony overpayment from the scammer, usually posing as a customer.
“You refund him $300 to his account, and he disappears,” said Hadnagy.
Security experts and law enforcement recommend that robocalls and other communication from unknown sources be ignored. Let them go to voicemail and monitor them safely at a later time. Never click on links in unsolicited emails or give out personal financial information unless it is through a trusted source you contacted first.
Hadnagy emphasizes that it is important to think first before acting on any offer that involves money or your personal information, “…especially when you feel emotional during a conversation or a message, and use critical thinking.”
You can find more information about how to avoid scams on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.