- Bitcoin and other crypto-currency-related scams. Bitcoin is now currently valued at several tens of thousands of dollars and may be harder to trace than traditional currency, so the market is rife with bogus cheap exchanges and giveaways. For example, in July 2020, several high profile Twitter accounts, such as those of Apple and Elon Musk, were hacked in order to promote a fake Bitcoin scam masquerading as charity. The scam promised that those who sent Bitcoin to an address would receive double the amount they donated.
- Brand or organization impersonations on social media and in emails. Large and small organizations alike have been susceptible to impersonation on social media and elsewhere. Scammers use copied logos for imposter accounts and may host giveaways for products or services that require the participants to provide personal information. Similarly, phishing scams, in which the scam artist will impersonate a company via email and request information from the recipient, still persist.
- Misuse of GoFundMe. While there are genuine GoFundMe fundraisers for people in unfortunate situations and important causes, there are also unscrupulous folks who take advantage of people’s kindness and commitment to social justice. Copycat fundraisers and campaigns based on outright lies occasionally pop up on the popular website, but there are several red flags to look out for before donating to a cause or person allegedly in distress. The most important thing to look out for is whether or not there is a clear path for the funds to be dispersed to the appropriate party.
- Student loan forgiveness or relief scams. With all the discussion in government about student loan forgiveness, it makes sense that crooked private companies would take advantage of this idea. These companies promise immediate relief or require upfront payment in order to help Americans struggling with loan repayment. The important thing to remember is that there are legitimate government programs that can assist with repayment methods.
Always have your guard up, and trust your intuition when dealing with people virtually or over the phone. If an individual, company, or situation doesn’t feel right, hire a private investigator with Crossroads Investigations to take a deep dive with due diligence research for you!