There are several reasons why scamming, unlike most crimes, is on the rise. One is that free markets have come up with sophisticated solutions to protect physical property. It’s just harder for criminals in the twenty-first century to get hold of physical items of value. Modern technology also makes it a lot easier to communicate with vast numbers of people.
Put together, these two factors are driving more criminals to play confidence games to get hold of your money. It’s just easier if they can convince you to voluntarily hand it over than it is to steal it outright.
That said, 2016 is shaping up to be another big year for the scammers. So what tricks are we likely to see?
Futuristic Materials Scams
There’s been a lot of fuss recently about the super-material, graphene. The material, discovered by British scientists in 2004 by pulling layers of graphite off a pencil with sticky tape, is fantastic. Gram-for-gram it is estimated to be 100 times stronger than steel. It’s also about ten times more flexible and conduct electricity better than copper. Not only that, it’s made from carbon, one of the most abundant elements on Earth.
The world of science and technology is understandably excited about the new material. However, graphene is not yet commercially viable. Engineers have not yet perfected processes that will allow the wonder material to be made cheaply and efficiently.
It means that we’re unlikely to see any real consumer applications before 2020. So this is why you should be suspicious of any so-called investment opportunities in graphene. Yes, graphene will probably transform the world. But it will be transforming the world of the 2020s and 2030s, not the world of today. So if you see an investment product that promises substantial returns today, it’s probably a scam.
Binary options scams
Binary options trading is a popular trading method among new traders. This is because you either get paid one of two values: $0 or a payoff amount, depending on the performance of the underlying asset. It effectively limits your losses, unlike tradition spot instruments.
However, recently there has been a rise in Binary Options Scams. Scammers make the suggestion that you cannot lose money. And they imply rates of return that are well into double digits.
But the reality of binary options trading precludes this. No matter how well versed you are in a particular market, nobody knows which way a stock will go a couple of hours from now. Binary options often are predicated on the assumption that you could know. This turns regular trading into a form of gambling, yet it is still called an investment.
Recently in England, scammers used fake emails from the Royal Mail to insert malware and viruses on computers. The email came from a legitimate-sounding address, and it informed customers that their packages had been lost. The idea was to get them to click on a link that would help them retrieve the packages. Instead, the just got malware.
Beware any bogus emails and think before you click the link.