ENC expert breaks down what you need to know about scams in 2024

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – 2.6 million consumers got scammed in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC says, the most commonly reported scam category was imposter scams, which saw significant increases in reports of both business and government impersonators.

Kiplinger reports that the 5 biggest frauds to look out for this year are: AI scams including deep fakes and stolen identities, weaker fraud protection at in-person banks, increased retail fraud as businesses are hit with empty returns, synthetic identity fraud, and fake GoFundMe and charity scams.

Debbi Hazelton, a Pitt County resident who has dealt with scams firsthand says, “It’s a very scary experience. I was merely looking at a recipe on my computer and all of a sudden, my computer started blaring that I had a bug.”

Scams are a scary reality that people like Hazelton know all too well. Hazelton told WITN, that the so-called “bug” prompted her to jump through unrealistic hoops to fix what scammers called a problem. “A virus was in my computer and I needed to not shut it down but call Microsoft help, which I did, I called the number to which they answered, ‘this is Microsoft, how can I help you?’ and it just went on from there.”

After weeks of scammers gaining information, Hazelton said, “Well, they’ve charged over $12,000 on your account.”

Richard Langley, the owner and operator of Happy Grandma Senior Tech Support says there are ways to avoid the headaches of scams.

“When you get these emails and scams, they usually try to scare you and put fear in you but the biggest thing for that is to stay calm. That’s going to be linked on what they want you to click on and toThisthe phone numbers they want you to call. Just don’t call any of the numbers, don’t click on any of the links. They’ll usually go to links that mimic what they’re trying to portray,” Langley told WITN.

Langley also says that if you’re worried, it’s always best to call a technology professional. More information on Happy Grandma Senior Tech Support can be found here.

According to the FTC, consumers reportedly lost 10 million dollars to scams in 2023.