How To Avoid The Biggest Scams Of 2022

Apr 7, 2021
By Staff writer

Key Contents:

The current pandemic has given fraudsters and scammers more opportunities to trick people in many new ways. Now that majority is spending time at their homes to follow safety protocols and avoid getting the deadly virus, our online presencewhether it's for work, online shopping, or socializinghas become more active as well.

That said, it's essential to know the latest online scams this year so you can avoid them.

Authorized Push Payments (APP) Fraud

APP fraud is currently one of the fastest-growing scams today. According to statistics, millions were already lost because of it. This scam happens when a fraudster tricks people into making bank transfers or sending a huge amount of money to them by posing as someone from your bank or a well-known organization. Many people fall for this trick because of how complex and convincing it is.

Another common scenario is a fraudster pretending to be an online seller and tricking someone into purchasing goods that don't really exist. 

Luckily, there are simple steps to take to avoid APP fraud. 

  • If anyone demands you to send a payment or transfer your savings, question it first and verify the request by contacting your bank or the organization involved directly. 
  • When it comes to purchasing goods online, check if the shop has any reviews from previous buyers and proof of purchases. If the shop has no reviews and/or most of its followers are from bot accounts, it's most likely a scam.

Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)

An account takeover fraud occurs when a fraudster gets access to the victim's login credentials and uses it to steal money or information. Fraudsters usually target financial bank accounts through different methods like phishing and malware. They can take over existing accounts such as bank or credit card and eCommerce. They typically get personal information such as email addresses, passwords, card numbers, and more from data breaches or purchasing it on the Dark Web. This information is used mainly for financial gain and often leads to fraudulent transactions and unauthorized shopping.

ATO can be challenging to detect as many fraudsters have adapted and changed their ways to hide their identity and avoid suspicious behavior. You can consider the following to prevent it:

  • Constantly monitor your account's activity and immediately call your bank or an authority if you find anything suspicious.
  • Use biometric security on your phones as much as possible to add a layer of protection against ATO.
  • Update your passwords and avoid sharing personal information about you online.


New Account Fraud

Like account takeover fraud, scammers use stolen credentials to bypass identity verification checks to open a new bank, credit, or loan account, then borrow money and disappear, leaving debts to the victim. New account fraud is also sometimes used to launder money.

NAF is challenging to spot since fraudsters use legitimate information from consumers and sometimes combine different identities and information to make another one.

Some ways to avoid NFA are:

  • Use identity verification tools, including biometrics.
  • Avoid posting personal information on social media.
  • Check the authenticity of a website before giving your personal information.

Transaction Fraud

Transaction fraud happens when a fraudster makes a transaction using stolen payment information. The most often used information used is the 16-digit debit/credit card, the card's validity, and the Card Verification Value or OTP that they send to the registered mobile number. This information is gained through phishing attacks, and with more of us in quarantine and have been relying primarily on online transactions, fraudsters have found more opportunities to con people.

You can protect yourself from phishing attacks by doing the following:

  • Check emails and make sure to verify if they're from a credible source. Inspect the URLs and hyperlinks before you click them. Delete or marked them as Spam if you find them suspicious.
  • Some fraudsters contact victims by phone. Never share personal information to them, and call the official company/organization's official contact # to verify the call first.
  • Monitor your card statements for any unusual transactions

Synthetic Identity Fraud

Synthetic identity fraud is one of the most recent and fastest-growing financial crimes. Fraudsters create fictional personas using different personal information from many victims to make sure it's believable enough to pass a company or organization's identity check. After passing the identity check, the fraudster might use this identity to open accounts and make transactions.

While there are no specific victims under this fraud, the use of your personal information may still affect your credit file. Avoid getting your personal information used for SIF by:

  • Creating strong passwords for your accounts.
  • Use biometrics.
  • Be extra careful with what you share and put on your social media accounts.


Fraud predictions this year to watch out for:

Fake COVID Solutions

Many countries are starting to distribute vaccines, and rapid COVID-19 testing has become more accessible, Experian expects that fraudsters will find this as a way to trick vulnerable customers and businesses by offering them vaccines, test kits, and fake medicines.

More Automated Attacks

Experian predicts that hackers and scammers will turn to automated methods to make cyber attacks and account takeover frauds this year and will continue to thrive unless the industry stops relying on usernames and passwords.

Helpful tips to avoid scams:

  • Be suspicious. Scammers know how to make themselves appear genuine and trustworthy, so it's best to verify and do some research before engaging with a person or shop. 
  • Regularly check your card statements for any unusual or suspicious activity, and make sure to call your bank right away if you find anything sketchy.
  • Make your password for every site as unique as possible. Avoid using the same password to protect your accounts from hackers.
  • Be careful when clicking links and attachments and going to websites. Some fraudsters set up websites to scam and hack people's accounts.
  • Improve your cybersecurity by having virus protection on your computer and other devices.

How to report a scam in NZ:

  • If you've been scammed, you may report it to your bank/company immediately as well as to NetSafe's website.
  • You may also call them at 0508 638 723 (NZ only). NetSafe will give you advice and forward your report to another agency.
  • For cybersecurity issues, you may report them to CERT NZ.

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