While there are always new scams being created, here are some of what the various consumer watchdogs expect may be the most common in 2017. While the list below may be some of the more common ones, you need to be aware of these as well as many others. As the fact is that both individuals as well as companies are always devising new ways to rip you off. But you can fight back, and find how to identify scams.
First, anything related to a computer or the internet will tend to be very high on the list. One of the scams/viruses that is becoming more common is Ransomware. It is expected by the the Better Business Bureau as well as Information technology professionals that this type of attack will become more common in 2017.
What will happen is a computer user will download some sort of software that will in effect “take over” your computer. Only if you pay “ransom” using bitcoin or some other untraceable payment method may you be given back control of your computer. So as we always say, as does every computer expert, never click on links in emails and never download attachments that are in an email or questionable website. Be paranoid!
Next up. 2017 may be the peak of IRS scams. This one has been going on for a few years, and it may become more common in 2017 as well before leveling off. There were almost 8000 cases of these reported to the BBB last year. However only a fraction tend to be reported, so the actual number is probably many times higher than the 8000. Maybe the only good news is that this type of scam has become so common that the awareness of it has increased, so we hope less people will fall for it in 2017.
Now back to the world of computers. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as Better Business Bureau are telling consumers to be on the lookout for technical support scams in the upcoming year. This is a fairly new one that has recently popped up, and it is expected it will increase throughout 2017.
It is similar to ransomware in that it often starts with malware or a virus on a computer. Then some individual or person impersonating an “IT” company will call you to offer to fix your computer for a support fee. It often leads to a cycle of payments, more viruses being installed on your computer, and other issues. Once again, just do not click any links or download attachments to prevent this.
Number 4 on the list, identify theft and online purchase scams will also continue to increase in 2017. If you shop on a “questionable” website then you may be buying fake merchandise. As there are more individuals creating a website that are impersonating companies and selling goods. Or rather, they are taking your money and not providing the goods.
Also, when shopping always be sure to use a website with “https” in the name. This will help secure the transaction and decrease the chance of your personal information being stolen. If you do not use “https” then you can easily be ripped off by having your credit card numbers stolen, identify theft, or other types of scams.
Struggling families may be targeted. Since we have many low income users on this site, you should also be aware of other debt collection scams in 2017 as well as work from home jobs. This is similar to the IRS issues above in that someone will call you. Instead of saying you owe money to the IRS, they will say that you owe money for other bills, such as electric or medical. The caller will demand payment for them and threaten legal action/jail if you do not pay.
The list above is some of what is expected to be the more common and growing scams in 2017. But there are dozens of other ways that you can get ripped off. There are fake charities that try to raise money in response to disasters, jury duty scams, job demands in which an “employer” demands up front costs to get a job, and many others.
But history shows us that no one can ever project what the most common one will be in any year. As scammers continue to innovate and evolve in what they may or may not do as they go after consumers. So just be extremely skeptical when someone asks for money and be very smart when using a computer.