DETROIT (WWJ) – The Better Business Bureau has revealed its list of the most popular scams to watch out for this year.
Many are new twists on existing scams, but scammers get more sophisticated every year in how they spoof trusted names and how they fool consumers.READ MORE: Meet These Two Bear Cubs Who Have Become Inseparable At The Detroit Zoo
While BBB doesn’t have specific numbers about how many people were defrauded or for how much, here are the most pervasive scams to watch out for:
10. Sweepstakes Scam: You’ve won a contest! Or the lottery! But you must pay fees or taxes in advance so they can release your prize.
9. Click Bait Scam: Social media posts show pictures of Malaysian Airlines, celebrity images, and fake news to get you to unintentionally click & download malware.
8. Robocall Scam: This scam claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates and takes credit card information then charges fees to your card.
7. Government Grant Scam: You get a call saying you’ve been awarded a government grant for thousands of dollar but you need to pay fees by wire transfer or prepaid debit card…
6. Emergency Scam: You get a call or email from your grandchild or other relative who was injured, robbed or arrested while traveling overseas and needs money ASAP.
5. Medical Alert Scam: A caller states a concerned family member ordered you a medical alert device, but need your credit card information to complete the order.
4. Copycat Website Scam: You get a message about a sale – you click through and order, but you either get a cheap counterfeit or nothing at all.READ MORE: Delta Wants Other Airlines To Share ‘No-Fly’ Lists To Help Stop Unruly Passengers
3. Are You Calling Yourself? Scam: Scammers can make a call look like it’s coming from anywhere. The latest trick puts your number in the Caller ID.
2. Tech Support Scam: Call claiming to be from Microsoft about a problem on your computer they can fix, but they install malware on your computer instead.
1. Arrest Scam: Call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government agent (often the IRS) stating they are coming to arrest you for overdue taxes
There’s a science to scams, and it may surprise you to know that scammers use many of the same techniques as legitimate sales professionals. The difference, of course, is that their “product” is illegal and could cost you a fortune. Here are the major techniques they use to draw you in:
Establishing a connection: The scammer builds rapport and a relationship with you. This is usually used face-to-face, as in home improvement scams and many investment scams, but also online romance scams.
Source credibility: The scammer uses techniques to make themselves look legitimate, such as fake websites or hacked emails that come from a friend’s account. Most email phishing scams spoof real companies, and many scammers pretend to be someone they are not in order to add credibility.
Playing on emotions: Scammers rely on emotion to get you to make a quick decision before you have time to think about it. An emergency situation or a limited time offer is usually their methodology. They count on emotional rather than rational decision-making.
What You Can Do:
•Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions.
•Take time to research the organization. Check them out on bbb.org, search online, etc.
•Never provide your personal information (address, date-of-birth, banking information, ID numbers) to people you do not know.
•Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.
•If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, utility company, etc., call the business from the number on your bill or the back of your credit card.
•Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
•Never send money for an emergency situation unless you’ve been able to verify the emergency.
For more information on these and other scams, go to BBB Scam Stopper.