"These are not necessarily the scams with the biggest losses, or those with the most victims, as many people don't report scams or even know they've been victimized," said CBBB spokesperson Katherine Hutt. "These are the scams that seemed to be the most widespread, aimed at the most vulnerable, growing in popularity, or just plain audacious.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that Americans lost $1.4 billion to scams in 2012.
BBB Top Ten Scams of 2013
- Medical Alert Scam - This scam targeted seniors and caretakers with the promise of a free medical alert system. Scammers told victims their family members had already paid for it and they would just need to provide their bank account or credit information for verification.
- Auction Reseller Scam - Scammers used Ebay and PayPal to lure in their victims. They figured out a way to have sellers mail the goods without receiving payment. The sellers receive an email that looks like it is from PayPal, but it was really just a fake. The BBB says always confirm payments in your Ebay and PayPal accounts before shipping goods, especially overseas.
- Arrest Warrant Scam - These scams take advantage of the fact that you can change what shows up on caller IDs when you call someone. Scammers change their name to resemble a law enforcement agency and call people to tell them they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest. They tell victims they can pay to avoid criminal charges.
- Invisible Home Improvements - Scammers simply knock at your door and offer a great deal for home repairs that you can't see, such as crawl spaces, air ducts, chimneys, and roofs. You can check out home contractors at bbb.org before hiring them.
- Casting Call Scam - Scammers pose as casting agents for hit television shows. They either offer acting lessons or photography sessions to help the aspiring actor or charge fees for fake applications and casting calls.
- Foreign Currency Scam - Scammers target their victims and tell them they can make great investments by purchasing foreign currency. You are told you can sell and cash in when governments revalue the currency, but this is very unlikely to happen and the currency will be difficult to sell.
- Scam Texts - These texts look like an alert from your bank asking you to confirm information with a fake link. Sometimes the link will download malicious software that gives scammers access to everything on your phone.
- Do Not Call Scams - Scammers call and offer to add your name to the National Do Not Call Registry. They ask for personal information and sometimes charge a fee to join.
- Fake Friend Scam - On Facebook, people are creating fake profles to be used in a variety of ways. Some will download malware or use your account to prey on your friends.
- Scam of the Year: Affordable Care Act Scam - Scammers used the uncertainty of Obamacare to trick Americans into sharing personal information. They call victims and offer new insurance or Medicare cards if they provide personal information.
Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices