According to data from the Federal Trade Commission, the Philadelphia metro area has already seen a steady increase in fraud reports of all types since 2017. Then, last year, the FTC saw fraud reports jump by more than 50%. from 2019, the largest increase in three years, with more than 67,000 reports.
Impostor scams were the most reported ploy with around 7,000 of them reported in the region in 2020. Someone is calling, texting or emailing claiming to be someone you know, saying that ‘ he needs money. “Money for a nonprofit, money for being kidnapped, money for a special reason,” Molina said.
Sometimes scammers ignore emails and create fake profiles of real people on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. They add people they know to make the pages look real, then ask them for money.
Scammers continue to get more sophisticated, targeting individuals, as well as nonprofits and large corporations – even a pipeline.
For example, Philabundance was the victim of an elaborate cyberattack last year. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, cybercriminals gained access to sensitive information to control email filters. Then they impersonated an entrepreneur that Philabundance worked with while blocking the company’s email. With a fake bill, the impostor tricked the nonprofit, which provides food to people in need, into sending it nearly a million dollars.
And cybercriminals left the King of Prussia-based Universal Health Services to scramble last September in a ransomware attack. In some cases, hospitals have had to divert patients elsewhere because they were excluded from their own information systems. The return to normal operations took about three weeks and generated $ 67 million in pre-tax losses, according to the HIPAA Journal trade publication.
Confusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has given cybercriminals new entry points for scams. They sent emails advertising personal protective equipment when it was scarce, as well as COVID-19 treatments, with links to malware-laden websites ready to steal personal information – another possible explanation for my bogus website, Molina said.
“The bad guys were also locked in and at home and more bored than ever with more time on their hands than ever,” added Molina.
Why do scams keep increasing?
“People just aren’t listening,” said Jason Thatcher, Milton F. Stauffer Chair in the Department of Management Information Systems at Temple University‘s Fox School of Business.
Thatcher says the developers have created educational programs that teach people to research or submit phishing test programs to see who falls in love with them.
“We just haven’t figured out how to effectively train people to internalize it and believe in it… For some reason, there’s that 1-2% of the population that doesn’t. just don’t listen, ”he explained.
And it’s not like scams are going anywhere. Phishing attempts increased again in late June, according to cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, as the “delta variant” became a popular search item on Google.