Written by Stu Sjouerman

Scamming incidents have increased by 519% in 2020 compared to last year, according to researchers at Baltimore-based ZeroFOX. The researchers compared their own data to a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission, which found that scams on social media have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic earlier this year. ZeroFOX says their data aligns with the findings in the FTC’s report, and they’ve observed a significant year-over-year increase in scamming incidents:

  • “423% increase in Financial Services (scammers/money mulers targeting banking customers)
  • “1579% increase in Retail scams
  • “226% increase in Consumer Goods scams
  • “295% increase in HR scams, which could align with scammers looking to capitalize on work from home opportunities and lay-off/furloughs due to the pandemic
  • “164% increase in crypto giveaway scams, where an account is taken over or an impersonator profile is created to look like an influencer to peddle the scam
  • “609% increase in money flipping scams
  • “100% increase in impersonating profiles that have someone who claims to work for a company in HR, but does not.”

ZeroFOX concludes that this activity will continue to proliferate, since scammers have no reason to change their methods.

“ZeroFOX Alpha Team assesses that scammers will likely continue to use the pandemic as an opportunity to take advantage of desperate consumers,” the researchers write. “Emotional and economic distress can leave victims vulnerable to these scams, especially ones designed to alleviate stress and reduce the impact of the pandemic. Alpha Team also assesses that the scam types will remain constant and we will not see many new scams, mostly due to the years of experience and resources available for tried and tested scams. The old adage ‘don’t fix what isn’t broke’ applies to bad actors as well. As always, be mindful when using social media for business or for personal use to prevent yourself from becoming the next victim to a social media scam.”

New-school security awareness training can give your employees a healthy sense of suspicion so they can avoid falling victim to social engineering techniques.

ZeroFOX has the story.

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