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 February, Central Ohio consumers reported over $29,000.00 in attempted dollars stolen.BBB analyzed 74 Scam Tracker reports from February 2018 to shed a spotlight on four scams affecting our Central Ohio community:1. Phone Scams: The top means of scam contact this past month was through telephone calls. BBB would like to offer the following tips to help consumers combat scam calls:Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. If the caller is legitimate, they will leave a voicemail. Even if a scammer chooses to leave a message, you can take time to determine if it is worth pursuing instead of being put on the spot.Be wary of recorded messages telling you to press a number to be removed from the call list. Since pressing a button confirms that you have a working number, it is best to hang up.Some scammers may call and impersonate trustworthy businesses, charities or even government agencies. The best way to avoid these types of scams is by hanging up, looking up the organization’s phone number and calling back to directly speak to a representative.Visit DoNotCall.gov and join the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ to help lessen the number of calls you receive. Joining the registry will not completely stop scammers, but you should receive fewer calls.Nomorobo.com offers an app for both landlines and cell phones to block any phone call that comes in as an automated or machine-made call.2. IRS Scam: A Grove City, Ohio woman received a call instructing her to go to Best Buy in Grove City, buy a gift card and tell them the security number off the back as payment for tax fraud from 2016. The caller told her not to tell anyone, and gave her the name Officer Mark Williams and the officer number 198020. A second person came on the phone and gave her the officer number IRM 24101. They told her she owed $6,000.00, and should pay them $1,000.00 a day. If she didn’t comply, they threatened to send an officer to her home to arrest her.She received 19 calls from the same number while at Best Buy, and was told to keep everything confidential. Fortunately, she realized it was a scam and did not lose any money.IRS scams will begin with someone pressuring you to act quickly. If the IRS needs to contact you, they will do so by mail first, not phone or email. Beware of anyone claiming to be a government official, but asking for payment in nontraditional ways like gift cards, prepaid debit card or wire transfer - this is a red flag. Click here for more information on how to tell if the IRS is really calling or if you are talking to a scammer.3. Tech Support Scam: A man from Blue Rock, Ohio reported losing $100.00 to a scam involving his Roku. He found a number online he believed he needed to call to activate his Roku, leading him to a scam company called Best Tech Support. The scammers told him he had to send $100.00. He sent Best Tech Support his debit card number, and did not get his money back.Protect yourself from tech support scams:Don't ever give a stranger remote access to your machine: Granting someone remote access to your computer permits them to install malware and access your files.Be wary of anyone calling you and claiming to be from a big-name tech company. Most big tech company employees will not call customers who have not asked to be called.Don't believe Caller ID. Victims report falling for this scam because the calls appear to come from Apple Support. Scammers often spoof phone numbers, so don't believe what you see on your phone.Think twice when you see a pop-up notification on your computer that isn’t from a program you installed. Scammers make tech support scam pop-ups that look like they’re coming from your computer, but they are actually ads displaying in your internet browser.4. Employment Scam: A Columbus, Ohio woman’s daughter almost lost $2,450.00 to a “secret shopper” employment scam. The daughter had posted her resume online at careerbuilder.com and indeed.com. She received a text message offering her a position, then got a letter and check through priority mail from Kinesis, signed by an Alex Baker. The letter instructed her to go to Walmart, deposit the $2,450.00 check, wire some money back and keep an extra $200 to buy items.According to Scam Tracker, consumers 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 or mystery shopper 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. BBB has additional tips for check overpayment scams.Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.Media Contact:Kip Morse email@example.comAbout BBBFor more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 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.