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Everything You Need to Know About the Top Fraud Trends of 2024

Widespread adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology has empowered fraudsters to create more convincing scams.
Cover Image Source: Scams | Photo by Nathan Cowley | Pexels
Cover Image Source: Scams | Photo by Nathan Cowley | Pexels

Detecting and preventing fraud requires constant vigilance and adaptability, particularly in the face of emerging trends and technologies. While certain aspects of fraud remain consistent, such as social engineering tactics and financial pressures driving fraudsters, new trends can significantly impact unsuspecting individuals within a relatively short period. Here are the top four fraud trends of this year:

Image Source: Unsplash|Photo by Viacheslav Bublyk
Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Viacheslav Bublyk

The widespread adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology has empowered fraudsters to create more convincing scams through the generation of high-quality images, videos, audio, and text. With the proliferation of user-friendly generative AI software, such as deepfake generators, fraudsters are employing sophisticated techniques to deceive individuals and organizations alike.

"I’ve been in technology for 25 years at this point, and this ramp-up from AI is like putting jet fuel on the fire. It’s something I’ve never seen before," said Christopher Budd, director at cybersecurity firm Sophos. "The work that goes into these to make them credible is actually pretty impressive."

"There is so much information available online that criminals can use to create very realistic phishing emails. Large language models are trained on the internet, know about the company and CEO and CFO," said Cyril Noel-Tagoe, principal security researcher at Netacea.

As digital assets continue to gain mainstream acceptance, fraudsters are capitalizing on the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Losses from crypto investment scams in the U.S. totaled $3.94 billion in 2023, an increase of 53% compared to $2.57 billion in 2022.

Image Source: Photo by Pixabay | Pexels

With the allure of quick profits and minimal regulation, expect to see an uptick in scams targeting digital asset holders, including SIM swaps, ransomware attacks, and investment schemes.

With billions of dollars invested in AI startups, there is heightened pressure on performance, increasing the likelihood of fraudulent practices. Scammers employ various deceptive tactics, including the use of deepfake videos to mimic a company's CEO and disseminate false news to manipulate stock prices. Additionally, AI technology facilitates the creation of authentic-looking websites and marketing materials to promote fake investments or fraudulent schemes.

Account takeover (ATO) represents a significant form of identity theft wherein fraudsters illicitly access an individual's or organization's computer accounts, email systems, and other personal data repositories. Typically, ATO attacks exploit phishing and malware tactics to obtain authentic user credentials, either through direct theft or by purchasing them from illicit online sources such as the dark web. Once in possession of stolen credentials, hackers execute automated takeover attacks to compromise accounts.

Cover Image Source: istockphoto/Photo by: dem10
Image Source: istockphoto | Photo by Dem10

Organizations are particularly susceptible to automated takeover attacks, which can result in a multitude of criminal activities and direct financial losses. These include unauthorized access to bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial assets, facilitating money laundering schemes, pilfering loyalty or rewards points, and illicitly reselling subscription information.

According to Netacea, 22% of surveyed companies experienced such attacks, rising to 27% within the financial services sector. Among those detecting automated bot attacks, 99% reported an uptick in incidents during 2022. Larger enterprises, especially those generating $5 billion or more in revenue, were most affected, with 66% witnessing a "significant" or "moderate" surge.