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 to BBB’s Scam Tracker.In January, Central Ohio consumers reported losing over $19,327.00 to scams.BBB analyzed 66 Scam Tracker reports from January 2018 to shed a spotlight on four scams affecting our Central Ohio community:1. Online Purchase Scam: The top scam reported to BBB Scam Tracker in January was from online purchases, with consumers losing a combined total of $1,220. BBB offers these tips for shopping online: Before buying online, confirm the site has real contact information. Make sure the seller has a working phone number and address on the website, so you can contact them in case of problems.If the price seems too good to be true, there's probably something wrong. Be wary if the item is selling for significantly lower than what you've seen elsewhere. Review BBB online shopping tips. Many online purchase scams use similar tactics. See bbb.org/shoppingonline for more advice.For more resources on shipping fraud, see FedEx's website and UPS's online resource center.2. Identity Theft Scam: A man from Hilliard, Ohio reported losing $12,000 in a Walmart gift card scam. He is currently working with an attorney and did not wish to disclose any further details.The report categorized his experience as identity theft, but due to the nature of how his money was lost, BBB is warning consumers to be wary of unusual payment methods. In any instance, fees or payments should never be paid via Green Dot MoneyPaks, iTunes cards or by wiring money. If someone asks you to send them money any of these ways, or to go to Walmart or another local store to wire money and obtain gift cards for payment, then it is most likely a scam.3. Employment Scam: A Whitehall, Ohio woman reported a secret shopper employment scam. She received an offer in the mail along with a check for $1,982. They requested that she deposit the money into the bank, withdraw the money, and send them back a portion through two separate money orders.She withdrew the money, and obtained the money orders through CVS and Walmart. One money order went to an Aldus Bagley in Texas, and the second went to a Stanley Nora in Texas. The next day, the bank called her to let her know the check she had deposited was bad, and she now owed them the full amount back.According to BBB Scam Tracker, people in the Midwest are most likely to fall prey to employment schemes. It’s simple for scammers to create fake company websites, emails and job applications. Many work-from-home schemes sound too good to be true and promise a large reward for minimal work. Be wary of any business that only wants to interview you over the phone or asks you to wire money for any fees or supplies. Indeed.com has guidelines for a safe job search.4. Craigslist Scam: A woman from New Albany, Ohio placed an ad for an item on Craigslist. She received a text from a Northern California number requesting that she ship them the item after they sent her a check with an extra $40 to cover the shipping fees.They asked for her name and address, but refused to provide any personal information in return. The consumer found it odd that someone would offer to overpay for an item, then researched similar scams and decided to block the person’s number. She soon received a check for $1,000 in the mail from the same person with a printed note to deposit the check and send some money back. The consumer knew from her online search that the check would be bad, and she would owe the bank the full amount if she deposited it and withdrew the money.BBB urges consumers to be cautious when selling and buying items on Craigslist and to consider the following tips to avoid check scams:Never accept checks for more than the asking price. This should be a red flag. Scammers are great at crafting legitimate-sounding stories, but you should be firm in only accepting checks for the proper amount.If you're going to accept checks, ask for a check from a local bank. Dealing with a local bank will allow you to visit the branch in person to find out if the check is real.Never wire bank funds, for any reason. If a buyer asks you to wire back any portion of the sale price, you are almost certainly being scammed. Stop the transaction immediately.Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.Media Contact:Kip Morse firstname.lastname@example.orgAbout BBBFor 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 at bbb.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.