When Investment Scams Use Big Names To Deceive

Investment Scams alert!
Scammers are getting more sophisticated and are now posing as famous companies to steal people’s money through fake investment schemes, as reported by Resecurity.

They are using big names like Barclays, BlackRock, Shell, and DJI, making it harder for victims to spot the fakes.

The Federal Trade Commission says, this year Americans have lost $3.8 billion to these fake investment schemes, an alarming increase compared to 2021.

Their methods

The scammers are part of the Digital Smoke group, which uses social media platforms such as YouTube and WhatsApp to lure unsuspecting victims into their fraudulent schemes.

Through these platforms, they invite people to their bogus sites that advertise fake investment opportunities. They promise huge returns with minimal investments, preying on people’s greed and financial vulnerability.

“The use of well-known brand names like Barclays and BlackRock is a tactic used to build trust and legitimacy with potential victims,” said Satnam Narang, a senior staff engineer at the cybersecurity company Tenable.

investment scams
Source: Resecurity

Aren’t these scams obvious?

You’ll definitely guess if it’s a scam, right? Not necessarily, at least Narang doesn’t believe that.

He explained by saying, “Many people may assume that they would recognize a scam, but we should keep in mind that some individuals, such as older adults, may not have the same level of awareness and could be vulnerable to such schemes.”

Additionally, the kind of network of apps and realistic-looking websites these scammers use, makes it super hard to detect if it’s really a scam.

To conceal their tracks, the scammers use over 350 web hosting providers, making it difficult for law enforcement to remove their fraudulent domains.

In one case, Resecurity reported that these criminals employed various website domain names that resembled BlackRock (like blackrockcrp.com) to enhance their credibility.

It is only going to increase

Unfortunately, the prevalence of these investment scams continues to grow, ultimately leaving many innocent people vulnerable to financial ruin.

According to the FTC, that $3.8 billion investment scheme theft represented almost half of the total loss at the hands of scammers in 2022. Among the various types of fraud, there were romance scams, counterfeit prizes, and lotteries.

On top of it all, Narang believes that these fraudulent activities are expected to gain more momentum with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

As we already discussed in our previous post, AI tools, such as ChatGPT, can be exploited by scammers to generate investment ads that appear genuine and are based on legitimate marketing campaigns.

However, “it is still unclear how significantly such tools will assist cybercriminals in their illegal activities,” said Narang.

For more news and updates on Cybersecurity, visit The Cybersecurity Club.

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