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 May, Central Ohio consumers reported over $7,000.00 lost to scams.BBB analyzed 53 Scam Tracker reports from May 2018 to shed a spotlight on three scams affecting our Central Ohio community:1. Employment Scam: A Whitehall, Ohio student reported losing $3,000.00 to a secret shopper scam. He applied to work with a company using the name American Consumer Eyes and soon received a check in the mail for $3,000.00. He was told to deposit the check and wire some money back, but the check was fake, costing him the full amount when he took it out of his account.A woman from Bexley, Ohio reported two different mystery shopping scammers contacted her and attempted to steal over $5,300.00 total. After searching online for secret shopper jobs, she came across someone impersonating the company Capstone Research. She contacted them, was approved and told she would be mailed a check soon. After she received the check, she was surprised that the amount was so high. She was supposed to be paid $200 but the check was for $2,450, and included a letter with detailed instructions to complete the assignment within 24 hours and text a number saying “Task Received”. The letter instructed her to deposit the check, take the leftover money, then wire it back to them from Walmart.She had also applied to work for a company using the name Secret Insight. They let her know she was approved and she would be receiving a check in the mail. When the check came, it included a strip of paper with instructions to email them for more information on how to proceed. The check was for $2,900.00, which also seemed suspicious after already receiving a large check from the other company. After she emailed the recruiter, they told her they receive too many calls and they would have to communicate via text. After her back-to-back experiences, the consumer knew something was not right and came in to BBB for guidance.Always be cautious of work-from-home jobs, secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant or customer service rep. When in doubt, don’t apply at the risk of losing your personal information or money. Job searching is difficult, and any company that says you can get a job, work from home, and quickly make large sums of money is most likely a job scam. When applying, do your homework, and make sure to research the business on bbb.org.2. Tech Support Scam: A man reported that his elderly mother who lives in Grove City, Ohio lost $2,000.00. She was receiving a high volume of phone calls and eventually answered. The caller was a scammer who told her she had purchased tech support from him a couple of years ago, that they had gotten in trouble with BBB and now he could refund her $200.00. He showed her on her computer that he was able to give her a deposit, but then acted panicked and claimed he gave her $2,000.00 on accident and that he would get in trouble if she didn’t help him get the money back.She drove to Walmart to buy $2,000.00 in gift cards but the employee would not sell them to her, insisting she was being scammed. She left, then went to Target and bought the cards anyway. She called the scammer back, read the numbers off the back of the cards then destroyed them. The bank is now reviewing her situation without any guarantee she will get the 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.3. Moving Scam: A woman from Worthington, Ohio reported losing $1,550.00 to a moving scam. She was looking for a home on rent.com and found a listing for a half double in Columbus. The listing was by someone using the name Michael J. Stalter and provided his contact information.The post said he lived in Maine and would have to be paid by MoneyGram or Western Union. He asked for an initial $200.00 deposit, and gave the consumer a copy of his signature on the lease, a copy of his passport and a certificate of ownership of the property. The lease looked official, breaking down the security deposit, monthly rent and application fee. The consumer went to Walmart and sent $1,550.00 to the poster’s realtor, Scott Pinette, in Sanford, Maine. When she went to move in, things seemed off. No one was there, and the “For Rent” sign was gone. The double was cleared out. She looked up the listing on Zillow and called the realtor listed, who told her she was renting it to someone else and that she should call BBB.If you are in the market for a new place to live, consider these BBB tips to avoid rental scams:Do your research. Search for the realty company and apartment complex on bbb.org to see if there are any complaints or customer reviews.Review the lease carefully before signing. Put a mark next to anything that you have questions about. If there’s something you wish to change in your lease agreement, it never hurts to ask. If there is an issue with the apartment that the landlord agrees to fix before you move in, be sure to get it in writing – including a date by which the repair or repairs will be completed.Be careful on Craigslist or other sites with rental listings. Some ads might ask the potential leaser to wire money in order to secure the rental. Never wire or forward funds to someone you don’t know and never agree to a rental without first inspecting the property in person.Be aware that scammers will go to rental websites, copy a rental listing (including photos) and repost them to Craigslist at a much lower cost. 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 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.