Scams to watch for in 2020

FTC: Imposter scams were the number one fraud in 2019
Posted at 6:17 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 18:21:46-05

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued its report of top frauds of 2019. Imposter scams were the number one reported problem and victims lost more than $667 million.

According ot the FTC report, imposter scams include:

  • Social Security Scam
  • IRS Imposter Scam
  • Nanny and Caregiver Imposter Scam
  • Family Emergency Scam
  • Tech Support Scam
  • Grandkid Scam
  • Online Dating Scam

You can read more about the FTC top frauds of 2019 and the individual scams by clicking on this link.

"With the imposter scams, we saw an up-tick in those towards the end of last year," said Melanie McGovern, communications director for the Better Business Bureau of Upstate NY (BBB).

Phone calls are the number one way people were contacted by scammers. The advice from experts, don't take calls from numbers you don't know. Let them go to voicemail.

If you get a text message alerting you that something is wrong with one of your accounts, don't respond or click on the link. Instead, look up the customer service number and call them directly on your own.

The BBB predicts imposter scams will continue to be problem along with online shopping scams because consumers are not being careful where they buy items online, thanks to more social media ads.

In addition, scammers always become more active during tax season, said Noelle Carter at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo. "The IRS will never call or email you about your tax refund," explained Carter.

To prevent tax identification theft:

  • File taxes early to make sure you get your refund - not someone who may have stolen your information.
  • Don't mail paper tax forms in curbside mailboxes outside homes. The BBB has reports of the forms, with personal information on them, being stolen from mailboxes in other parts of NYS. Take your paper tax forms to the post office for mailing.
  • Use caution when looking for a tax preparer. Scammers are known to use fake emails and social media ads pretending to be a tax service hoping to get your information.

Report all scams so others don't become victims:

The BBB operates an online Scam Tracker where you can report and check for scams in your area. Click here to access the Scam Tracker.

The FTC also accepts scam reports. Click here to file a scam compliant with the FTC.