A new report from NatWest has identified the top ways they expect fraudsters will try and get their hands on people’s cash in 2018.
NatWest has worked with research agency The Future Laboratory to analyse data from the last 18 months to predict eight frauds expected to emerge in 2018.
Eight scams to watch out for in 2018
- Social media spying. People might not realise how much information they are giving away, but to a fraudster the posts can be very helpful in setting up a scam.
- Malicious software on smartphones. It is expected that malware or malicious software threats will grow among mobile devices.
- Bogus Brexit investments. Consumers should be wary of fake investment opportunities. For example, fraudsters may email customers, warning Brexit will affect their savings, and that they urgently need to move them into a seemingly plausible, but actually fake, investment product.
- Fraudsters preying on World Cup excitement. Some fraudsters will sell football tickets that are either fake or will never arrive. It is also expected that "package trips" will be offered by fake travel companies. Always buy tickets from a reputable source.
- Money mules. Mule recruiters may trawl social media for potential targets, particularly cash-strapped students in university towns, and use them to inadvertently launder money. Money mules receive the stolen funds into their account, they are then asked to withdraw it and send the money to a different account, often one overseas, keeping some of the money for themselves.
- Wedding excitement. Experts fear couples could be easy prey for fraudsters who tempt victims with extravagant offers at bargain prices. Fraudsters can set up fake websites for elements of the big day like venue hire, catering, or wedding dresses that appear very realistic. Fake wedding planners will take people's money and then disappear.
- Romance scams. Criminals create fake profiles to form a relationship with their victims. They use messaging to mine victims' personal details to use for identity fraud. Or, just when the victim thinks they have met the perfect partner the fraudsters asks them for money.
- Scams aimed at first-time buyers. Computer hackers monitor emails sent by a solicitor to a first-time buyer and then they pounce, pretending to be the solicitor and telling them the solicitors' bank account details have changed in order to steal cash.
Julie McArdle, NatWest security manager said: "Scammers are dogged in their attempts to get their hands on people's money and are always looking for new ways to get ahead. This means banks and customers need to evolve alongside scammers too.
"By being aware and staying ahead of scammers, we can stop them winning and keep the country's money safe and secure."
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by using the online reporting tool.