Our world has never been without scams: the corrupt salesman, the concerned but crooked contractor, the telemarketer with the deal of the day. Surrounded by technological genius, scammers have also found a comfy home on the Internet and in places disguised as humanitarian safe havens, with claims of putting our lives back on track.
The Better Business Bureau is working to be your source to uncover current scam activity and developed a humorous, but poignant infographic to help raise consumer awareness of some of the most common scams affecting our lives today.
“Many people still do not understand the nature of on line scams. Remember, there is only one reason these scams continue to show up in your email accounts and pop up when browsing. They work. As silly as some of them appear, they work well enough, and fool enough people, that millions of dollars are lost to the crooks every year. Your only defense is awareness,” said David Polino, Better Business Bureau President.
BBB offers a warning of the top 10 online scams that occurred last year and link to their infographic that includes what an online scam typically looks like. Topping the list? Job hunter scams and debt relief services; possibly taking advantage of those who are unemployed, getting in debt, and desperately for a way out.
1. Job Hunter Scams - Victims must pay a fee to be considered for a job. You end up out of money you don’t have, and still no job.
2. Debt Relief and Settlement Services - Potentially leave the consumer drowning in even with even more debt than they started with and completely ruin their credit.
3. Work from Home Schemes - Instead of getting paid for work, you can end up losing hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars or in legal trouble.
4. Timeshare Resellers – You pay fees to get out of a vacation property, but the seller never hears from the company again.
5. Not so “Free” Trial Offers - The free trial offers seem easy, but the consumer is repeatedly billed every month and it’s very difficult to cancel.
6. Rogue Home Repair/Roofers - Homeowners are often stuck with either an unfinished or never started project and are out their initial deposit money as well.
7. Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams - The victim wires money to cover “taxes” or “fees”, but the prize or money never arrives.
8. Advance-Fee Loan Scams – Victims are required to wire an upfront “fee” to the scammers but they never receive the loan.
9. Over-Payment Scams – You are told oops, we overpaid you, please send overage back. But the transaction is reversed, and the victim is out the money wired back to scammers.
10. Identity Theft – Someone contacts you to verify personal information or your information is compromised. Scammers are looking to gather personal and sensitive information to open lines of credit or just steal money or the identity from the victim and their accounts. The victim is left spending countless hours trying to repair all of the damage the thieves have done or may still do.
To steer clear of online and other scams, always research the business with the BBB before you sign any contracts or give away any money.
If you feel that you’ve been a victim of a scam visit bbb.org to file a complaint and report your dealings to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and FTC at 1-877-382-4357.