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Learn how to spot phishing scams and what to do if you fall victim

Learn how to spot phishing scams and what to do if you fall victim

Phishing scams have increased in recent years, generating millions of dollars in annual losses. Only from January to June 2023, there were 1.1 million reports on these practices, reporting a loss of 4.4 billion dollars. Now the risk is greater with Artificial Intelligence, so they recommend staying alert and informed, as well as reporting these activities to prevent being the next victim.

Phishing is a type of scam carried out by people who pretend to be a company, friend, family member or commercial representative, with the aim of deceiving, defrauding or collecting personal data through email, calls, messages, social networks, pages web, fictitious purchases, among other techniques of interest with the use of Artificial Intelligence. 

The presence of new technologies, especially Artificial Intelligence, has become a valuable tool for scammers, it is used to clone the recorded voice of a phone call and make believe that it is someone known who needs help, and they also create false profiles to connect with a greater number of possible victims, as reported by the Federal Trade Commission through a press conference organized by Ethnic Media Services.

Benjamin Davidson, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission's Trade Practices division, explained the ways in which phishing is being implemented.

«These types of fraud take different forms, impostors are those people who pretend to be someone else, such as a representative of a recognized company, they can pretend to be a relative or start a love relationship, the purpose is to gain trust to obtain information or money directly», he detailed.

The most common forms of Phishing are through online purchases that became popular during the pandemic, but it has also made people more vulnerable by sharing bank information to make an online purchase, where data is stolen and used in future purchases; but there are also fictitious purchases, where you pay for a product or service that in the end does not arrive or is not fulfilled.

Another way to steal is through raffles or lotteries, where they ask for money to cover your participation and win attractive products or large amounts of money, but at the end of the process you do not acquire any benefits.

Investment frauds are also constant, they come talking about the great benefits you will get by investing a small amount of money. Currently, cryptocurrency investments or online accounts are the most famous. 

One more way to lose money is in supposed business opportunities, they ask you to enter with a small investment to be part of a larger business or to start a business, however, you never see your money and you lose total contact with your supposed investor. 

It is important to know how these impostors make contact with anyone: they mainly come through social networks; From January to June 2023, 658 million dollars have been reported in losses of money per contact through social networks and per contact through telephone calls, losses reach 1,400 dollars on average.

One more way to do fraud is through text messages. They make believe that they are representatives of a company to offer you a benefit or service, they send a link and then ask for a payment or some information.

An example of this was the case of recruitment by messages, they made believe that you would work for a person using social networks to generate income for which they provided their data or asked for an investment amount, in both cases it ends up being a fraud.

What can be done to avoid being a victim of phishing?

We must take into account that some situations in which the impostor puts you are hard to believe, it is not an easy way to earn money or obtain some benefit, so it is recommended to question any approach.

The scammer will give a sense of urgency because they try to capture it immediately, that is why you should not respond immediately, it is key to do it slowly and carefully, not to rush in a situation like this, it allows you to take it carefully, investigate and dig a little , as well as investigate the situation that they present to you and corroborate that it is true, if you take it calmly you will possibly be able to avoid being part of the fraud.

It is also recommended to block text messages or calls that you have already detected as part of a fraud.

Another way to take care of yourself is through applications that alert you if you look like a fraud.

In case of being a victim of phishing, a report must be made, it is extremely important to follow up and be able to continue informing the population and thus avoid other frauds. These can be reported via call, text or on site https://reportfraud.ftc.gov. 

To protect your computer it is recommended to purchase security software. 

In the case of the mobile device, the recommendation is to configure the software to update automatically. 

In the use of various accounts registered on the devices, it is recommended to protect yourself by using multiple authentication. 

The role of Artificial Intelligence -AI- in phishing

Phishing by Artificial Intelligence, is through messages or calls that seek to gain trust to access your mobile device, to later clone the voice of people and later use it to create a risky and urgent situation that will put the person nervous and fearful, in this way she will not think about it and will pay for the benefit of her loved one.

Another very common way is to enter into a long-distance love relationship, maintain it for a while, and then make the person involved believe that they need their financial support.

This technology is also used to clone accounts, enter computer systems or mobile devices, the ways and means are endless and anyone is at risk. 

For her part, Rosario Méndez, from the Federal Trade Commission, explained how to use the website ftc.gov/scams, which is a guide to report scams in Spanish, stay informed to learn how to avoid them, and offers the necessary support if you are a victim. She recommends acting quickly to get your money back.

On the page you can find information to contact the company involved. It is important to mention that this page provides information in more than 10 languages to make it a truly useful tool for anyone.

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