Did you know that, according to BBB Institute research, men are more vulnerable than women in seven of its top ten scam categories and that consumers age 18-24 years old are the most likely to lose money to a scam? While seniors tend to lose more money than Millennials when they are scammed, they fall for scams far less often. The biggest take way is that no one is immune from the risk posed by scams.
Online purchase scams rank 4th out of the top 5 riskiest on the newly released BBB Risk Index.
There is no doubt that scams have gone high tech. Online scammers can quickly damage reputations and make consumers hesitant to do business online. Every dollar stolen by a scammer is a dollar not spent with a reputable business. The BBB has looked into several companies that claim to be located in our service area but upon further investigation are found to be using a fraudulent address or have high jacked the address of a local business. Since there are a variety of approaches it is not always easy to uncover these scams and equally difficult to limit exposure or protect against them.
An online seller of sporting goods has recently notified the BBB of a website that has been created by a scammer utilizing their address and phone. When the ordered product is not delivered the customer calls only to learn that they were victims of a scam as is the business. They have no order AND the scammer typically has the customers personal and credit card information. Cases of business identity theft lead to unwarranted BBB complaints and reviews plus lots of time lost for the business trying to satisfy problems with a customer that they have never had!
A local marketing company informed the BBB of their identity being compromised when they began to receive calls about unfulfilled, paid for, online bids. They had no knowledge of what had occurred until they received a call from a credit card company concerning a dispute. They found they were being impersonated and confused with a similarly named site.
In both cases the BBB suggested that they register a complaint on IC3.gov, the internet crime site and consider posting information about the issue on their site. When a business reputation is tarnished, it is important to maintain open communication and transparency. Ignoring obvious problems will only make the problems grow.
Scams like these make it difficult for a legitimate company to separate themselves from the bad ones that continually erode trust in the marketplace. BBB’s mission to protect consumers and ethical businesses is always evolving and changing. Be a vigilant business and a savvy consumer. If you notice anything unusual or wrong with your marketplace experiences always remember to contact the BBB at 1-800-222-1600.