BBB Lists Top 10 Scams of 2016

  
     
The list was compiled based on more than 30,000 scam reports filed by consumers on bbb.org/scamtracker, a free interactive online tool launched last year by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust.
January 06, 2017

Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE, Fellow PRSA (704) 927-8617 office

Tax Scam is Still #1 Despite Raid in India

Credit card scams drop off the top ten, while online purchase scams and phishing scams are new to the list. 

Arlington, VA (December 22, 2016) – Reports to BBB Scam Tracker in 2016 confirmed that tax scams are still the top scam, despite a huge drop in reports after a September police raid in Mumbai, India. The list was compiled based on more than 30,000 scam reports filed by consumers on bbb.org/scamtracker, a free interactive online tool launched last year by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust. Not all of those consumers lost money, as many recognized the scam before being victimized but reported it anyway to help warn others.

The top three scams on the 2016 list – tax scams, debt collection scams, and sweepstakes/prizes/gifts scams – were the same as in 2015. New to the top ten are online purchase scams (#4) and phishing scams (#10). Online purchase scams were common in 2015 as well, but this scam type was not added as a BBB Scam Tracker category until 2016. Employment scams (#5) are also new to the top ten, but only because work-from-home scams, previously a separate category, were included. Another change was the drop of tech support scams from #4 last year to #7 this year. 

Scam Type

Scam Reports

Percentage

Last Year

Tax Scams (IRS and CRA)

7,530

25.0

24.0

Debt Collections

2,456

8.2

8.3

Sweepstakes/Prizes/Gifts

2,102

7.0

8.0

Online Purchase

1,891

6.3

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Employment

1,773

5.9

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Government Grant

1,453

4.8

5.7

Tech Support

1,382

4.6

6.0

Advance Fee Loan

965

3.2

3.8

Fake Check/Money Order

872

2.9

2.4

Phishing

776

2.6

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BBB encourages consumers to learn how to recognize scams and to avoid them by following these ten simple steps:  bbb.org/avoidscams 

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ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. 

ABOUT THE BBB INSTITUTE FOR MARKETPLACE TRUST: BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust is the educational foundation of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Its goal is to connect targeted consumer populations to BBB services, promote consumer awareness and financial literacy, and advance business ethics in the marketplace. The organization offers in-person trainings, print and digital educational resources, scholarships and recognition programs that promote ethical enterprise and fraud prevention across North America.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Journalists should contact Katherine Hutt (703)-247-9345 or khutt@council.bbb.org)