Last year, consumers experienced a number of different scams affecting security, information, and finances. The Better Business Bureau reviewed 2015 and came up with the top 10 scams. As we participate in Consumer Protection Week, here is a summary of those fraudulent schemes and how to avoid them and their consequences, like consumer debt.
Top 10 Scams of 2015 for Consumer Protection Week
According to the BBB, tax scams were by far the number one biggest scam. Many victims received a call from someone pretending to represent the government. The information seems legit and many people fell for it. Unfortunately, a scam like this can lead to a lot of consumer debt and other personal financial troubles.
Similarly, debt collection scams use fear tactics and government agency impostors. Consumers get scared and relent their finances to the scammers.
Tech support scammers try to get control of your sensitive technology information to gain access to your finances and other information. Malware is often left behind on your computer to do the dirty work from a distance.
Here is the complete list of the top 10 scams of 2015:
- Tax Scams
- Debt Collections
- Tech Support
- Government Grant
- Advanced Fee Loan
- Credit Cards
- Work from Home
- Fake Check/Money Order
How to Avoid Consumer Debt from Scams
All of the above scams are used to steal money from consumers. This often forces people to use credit cards, take out payday loans or cash advances. People are then unable to repay those lines of credit, and they end up with far too much consumer debt than they can handle.
So how can you avoid these terrible scams that seem real?
- Take time to research the claim online before doing anything
- Try asking for a callback number or confront them directly to see if they hang up
- Never give out your personal information- social security number, banking information, addresses, etc. to someone if you can’t confirm who they are.
- Do not interact with suspicious e-mails or links
- Hang up and call the institution directly that they claim to be
If you do encounter a scam, report it to the BBB Scam Tracker or the FTC so other consumers can be notified and protected. If you become a victim of a scam, do not feel ashamed. Taking action quickly is the best way to try to limit the damage.
For more information on consumer scams and identity theft, visit ACCC’s Identity Theft Resources.