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Michal Šimečka, leader of the Slovakian liberal Progressive party
From Pivot Magazine

The future of cons and frauds

Here are some of the schemes we can expect in 2024

In the ever-evolving business landscape, a new year heralds not only promises of fresh opportunities but also a continued cat and mouse game between scammers and those striving to safeguard their financial interests. As we explore the forecast of trends for the upcoming year, it’s imperative to shine a spotlight on the dark underbelly of these advancements—the world of scams.


As the number of our online purchases proliferates as fast as our social media accounts, the chances of our personal information leaking grow that much more. This form of fraud can impact consumers and financial institutions alike, with fraudsters applying for credit using these fake identities. They accumulate debt and often default on payments, causing substantial financial losses to banks and lenders. The losses can result in increased interest rates or fees for legitimate customers to compensate for these losses.


We’ve all become familiar with malware and ransomware threats. And AI is increasing the volume and threat-level of attacks. In 2022, ransomware payouts amounted to less than $500 million, as reported by the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. However, the narrative shifted in 2023, as victims shelled out up to $449.1 million within the initial six months. With would-be hackers now looking to ChatGPT to generate codes to launch cyber attacks, these numbers are more likely to get worse before they get any better.

340 million people were impacted by data breaches and leaks by May 2023


In a recent McAfee study of 7,000 participants, one in four people have, or know someone who has, experienced an AI voice scam. And of those people, 77 per cent lost money as a result. Like most tech-based scams, advancements in AI not only help make this easier but a lot faster, with some voice cloning technology requiring only five seconds of audio to be able to replicate a human voice. The implications of its misuse stretches far beyond dollars and cents as voters in Slovakia found out. Two days before the national election, an audio recording leaked on Facebook of Michal Šimečka, leader of the liberal Progressive Slovakia party, apparently discussing how to rig the election through buying votes. It was quickly debunked by Slovakian news agencies, although Šimečka still lost the election in a tight race.


Peer-to-peer transactions are quick and convenient payments made in "real-time", which makes them a target for both scammers and fraudsters. While many popular P2P services like Venmo, Zelle and Cash App are unavailable in Canada, that may change with a push towards a more competitive Canadian banking sector. The closest we have is our trusty Interac e-Transfer (although it uses our financial institutions as the go-between in these transactions).

The concern with some American P2P services, should they make their way here, is their scam or fraud policies. Zelle, for example, has a zero-liability policy when it comes to fraud perpetuated on a user, but no such policy exists in the case of authorized push payments (APP), where a user is scammed into sending money to a bad actor.


Learn more about frauds targeting individuals and businesses, and how to arm yourself against scammers.

Photo caption: Leader of the Slovakian liberal Progressive party, Michal Šimečka (Getty Images)