Columbus, OH - Each year, one in four North American households are scammed. Because money loss and identity theft can happen to anyone, BBB encourages community members to protect and inform others by reporting any scam-related experiences toBBB’s Scam Tracker.
In October, Central Ohio consumers reported losing a total of $2,050 to scams.
BBB analyzed 66 Scam Tracker reports from October 2017 to shed a spotlight on three scams affecting our Central Ohio community:
1. Craigslist Scam: A young man from Grove City, Ohio posted his car for sale on Craigslist. A buyer sent him a check for $1,600, then instructed him to deposit the check, go to Walmart and wire $600 to the person who would move the car, located in Skokie, Illinois. The buyer contacted him again claiming the mover wanted more money. He did not wire additional funds, and later realized the initial $1,600 check was fake. In the end, he lost the $600 he previously wired to the “mover”.
If you are selling items on Craigslist and a buyer sends you a check and asks you to wire money back, that is a red flag. When meeting up with a buyer or seller from Craigslist, be sure to meet in a safe, secure spot. If possible, bring a friend with you, and take a second vehicle. Be wary if a buyer or seller does not want to talk over the phone, or asks for personal information like your credit card number or social security number. If at any point during the deal you feel uneasy, trust your gut and back out. Craigslist scams can be reported to the local police, Craigslist directly at reportcraigslistscams.com and BBB Scam Tracker.
2. Advance Fee Loan Scam: A woman from Centerburg, Ohio received a texttellingher that she qualified for a $2,000 loan. She let the person deposit $900 into her checking account, then was told she had to wire $850 back through Western Union to prove she was trustworthy. She was then told they would need to build a credit profile for her, and deposited another $2,000 into her account. At the time, she did not know that both of the deposited checks were fake. The scammer then directed her to buy iTune Gift cards and tell them the security numbers off the back. She reported losing several hundred dollars.
BBB would like to remind consumers that advance fee loans are illegal in the United States and Canada. If you are told you qualify for a loan, you should never have to pay fees before receiving the money.
Be wary of unusual payment methods as well. In any instance, fees should never be paid via Green Dot MoneyPaks, iTunes cards or by wiring money.
3. Online Purchase Scam: A South Salem, Ohio manresponded to a pop-up ad on his computer asking him to take a survey and win a free watch. He completed two surveys and was asked to pay for shipping. After the watch was delivered, he received a $199.99 bill.
Pop-ups are small windows that automatically open on your computer screen. They are often used for advertising, which can be from a trustworthy business, but are often scams or dangerous software disguised as ads.
Although these advertising methods are accepted by advertiser and publisher standards, BBB still advises consumers to be cautious when pop-ups come onto their screen while online.
If you see a pop-up, it is usually best to resist clicking. Beware of pop-ups that use words like “sensational”, or “shocking” to try to get users to click through. Be sure to have updated, reliable malware detection on your computer and to enable pop-up blockers to help you avoid accidentally clicking on pop-up windows.
Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free atbbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.