BBB Identifies Top Scams Using New “Risk Index;” Home Improvement and Fake Check Scams Head the List

March 06, 2017

BBB has created a new algorithm that looks at scams in terms of risk. It’s called the BBB Risk Index. It has analyzed the almost 32,000 reports to BBB’s Scam Tracker and determined the riskiest scams. It takes in to account how likely someone is to be exposed to the con, how likely they are to fall for it and lose money and how much money is lost. So think of it in terms of:

Exposure X Susceptibility X Monetary Loss = Risk Index

Overall big picture:
- men are more vulnerable than women
- young adults are at highest risk  (ages 18-34)
- home improvement and fake check scams are the riskiest

Riskiest scams:
Even though the IRS tax scam is the most reported, it doesn’t even make the top ten riskiest scams because few people actually fall for it. Here are the top five riskiest scams in the US and Canada:

  1. Home improvement scams
  2. Fake checks and money orders
  3. Employment scams
  4. Online purchase scams
  5. Advance fee loan scams

top ten riskiest scams
Who's most at risk:

Another surprising finding – older people are the least at risk. They fall for fewer scams than do millennials. In fact the older you are, the less at risk you are.

Who loses the most money:
But older people do lose more money when they do get scammed. That’s because their more like to fall for the “grandparent” scam along with the sweepstakes/lottery/prizes scam as well as travel/vacation scams and the con men behind these scams ask for larger dollar amounts.

age and money lost

Read BBB's press release on Risk Index

Get the full report