Tactics used by scammers have shifted drastically during the past several years, with scams being perpetrated online rising 87% since 2015, according to a new report published by the Better Business Bureau.
Impersonation scams continue to be a prevalent form of online scams: 54% of survey respondents said the scammer claimed to be from a legitimate organization to perpetrate the scam.
How and where you search, research, and conduct transactions may impact your susceptibility to online scams.
BBB offers the following tips for avoiding losing money to online scams:
• If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Price was the top motivating factor for people who made a purchase and then lost money. Don’t shop on price alone.
• Be careful purchasing sought-after products. Scammers offer hard-to-find items and highly sought-after products at great prices.
• Before you buy, do your research with a trusted source. One of the best ways to avoid scams is to verify the offer and avoid making snap buying decisions.
• Avoid making quick purchases on social media. 25% of survey respondents reported being targeted while browsing social media.
• Use secure and traceable transactions. Avoid paying by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment methods.
• Choose your online payment system carefully. Take some time to understand the rules around your online payment system; not all will reimburse money if you get scammed.
• Don’t believe everything you see. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals, fonts, and other details. Just because a website or email looks official does not mean it is. For example, if a business displays a BBB Accredited Business seal, you can verify its legitimacy by going to BBB.org and looking up the company yourself.
• Ask for verification and take time to do research with a trustworthy source. People who lost money to a scam were almost twice as likely than those who avoided losing money to say the scammer used impersonation as a tactic.
• Be skeptical about anyone who reaches out to you unsolicited. Survey respondents told us scammers produced fake business cards, websites, credentials, ratings and more to convince them they were legitimate.
Share your scam story
Local law enforcement is concerned about the impact of scams on area residents, particularly the elderly.
Consequently, this newspaper works with local police and sheriff’s departments to keep residents updated on common schemes. Scam Alerts will appear in future editions as often as possible in the coming weeks.
Readers can also find online scam updates at windomnews.com.
If you have been the target of a scam, your first contact should be local authorities. Also, feel free to contact us with details (we can keep your name confidential).
Send your story to: email@example.com, or call 507-831-3455. By sharing, you could prevent someone from being scammed.
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