4 Ways Fraudsters Likely Will Target You in 2022

Woman in a phone scam
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A new year is right around the corner — and, unfortunately, that means another 365 days for scammers to separate you from your hard-earned cash.

Fraudsters are getting better at executing socially engineered attacks, says Jon Clay, vice president of Threat Intelligence at Trend Micro, a cybersecurity software company.

Recently, Clay issued his insights about what he expects will be the biggest and most dangerous trends in consumer fraud during 2022. They are as follows.

Scammers will take advantage of midterm elections

An important election arrives in November, with many congressional seats up for grabs. Clay says scammers will use this opportunity to target folks with socially engineered scams. He expects “extensive disinformation campaigns.”

As Clay told NPR in August, some scammers hack into Facebook accounts specifically so they can use the accounts to spread disinformation:

“The fact that social media is now a big part of everybody’s lives [means] it is a major target.”

Attacks will go mobile

A spike in attacks via mobile devices likely will arise in 2022, Clay says. In particular, watch out for:

  • Smishing (also known as SMS phishing), a form of the internet fraud known as phishing that uses text messages rather than emails to try to trick recipients into unwittingly providing personal or financial information to the sender
  • Vishing (aka voice phishing), in which fraudsters make phone calls and leave voice messages while pretending to be from reputable companies and requesting personal financial information
  • Email-based scams

Older adults will continue to be targets

The elderly are often targets of scams. Fraudsters will use scams to continue to prey on less tech-savvy adults, Clay says.

For more about such fraud, check out “10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed.”

Traditional ‘red flags’ will become outdated

We all have heard the advice: Don’t click on links or attachments in emails from sources you do not trust. That is still good practice, but it may not be enough to keep scammers at bay.

Clay says crooks will continue to disguise themselves as trusted sources and send emails that appear to be legitimate. As a result, he urges consumers to review all unexpected emails and texts with caution.

For more tips on avoiding scams, check out “4 Beliefs That Make You Easy Prey for Scammers.”

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