5 riskiest scams to be on the lookout for - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

5 riskiest scams to be on the lookout for

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(WPTA21) -

The Better Business Bureau is helping people be on the lookout for some of the riskiest scams.

The organization released the new BBB Risk Index Tuesday, giving a sophisticated analysis at the risk of each scam type poses. The data shows while scams have gone high tech, the riskiest scam is done face-to-face.

The BBB said the index is a shift in how to calculate the true impact of different scams. Previously, virtually all involved organizations used volume alone to create top scam lists. This approach ignores two equally critical factors, the susceptibility of the population and dollar losses. 

For example, the most reported scam in 2016 was the tax scam. However, consumers have caught on to this scam and rarely fell for it. This means the scam did not even make the top ten. 

The BBB Risk Index measures risk along three dimensions:

  • Exposure (how likely are you to be exposed to the con?)
  • Susceptibility (if you are exposed, how likely are you to lose money?)
  • Monetary loss (if you do lose money, how much is it likely to be?).

Based on the BBB Risk Index, the following are the riskiest scams overall.

  1. Home improvement scams 
  2. Fake checks and money orders 
  3. Employment scams 
  4. Online purchase scams 
  5. Advance fee loan scams 

In the home improvement scam, door-to-door solicitors offer quick, low-cost repairs. They either take payments without returning, do shoddy work or "find" issues that raise the price a lot.

The fake check scam is when you deposit a phony check and return a portion by wire transfer to the scammer. While the stories vary, the BBB says you will often be told you are refunding an "accidental" overpayment.

Employment scams are when you are led to believe you are applying or have just been hired for a promising new career. However, you have just given personal information or money to scammers for "training" or "equipment".

The BBB says online purchase scams often involve purchases and sales on direct seller-to-buyer sites. A buyer may send a fake check, or a seller may simply never deliver the item.

Advance fee loan scams are when a loan is guaranteed once you pay upfront charges such as taxes or a "processing fee". The loan never materializes.

The data shows men were more vulnerable than women in seven of the top 10 scam categories. The most risky scam for men is investment scams while online purchase scams are the most risky for women.

Consumers 18-24 were most likely to lose money to a scam. The BBB says the riskiest scam for 18-24-year-olds is the fake check scam. 25-34-year-olds are hit hardest by the employment scam. 35-44-year-olds are at risk for investment scams. The riskiest scam for 45-64-year-olds is the home improvement scams. For people 65 and above, family/friend emergency scams are the riskiest.

You can read the full report below or by clicking here.

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