LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—The Better Business Bureau’s 2020 scam tracker risk report states younger adults between 18 and 24 years of age are the main targets of scams in 2020.
Troy Baker is the Educational Foundation Director for the Better Business Bureau stated with the new data in their scam tracker risk report they made sure to compare the prevalence of scams to young adults, how much money a person can lose, and how much money will actually be lost.
“We put all of that data together and we found online purchase scams this year were the riskiest scams of 2020,” Baker said.
Baker believes the main contributor to these scams could have been the COVID-19 pandemic. He says more people were at home during this time, and that could have contributed to more online shopping.
“What we’re finding is scammers are increasingly using those social media networks to put out websites that are pure scams, or they don’t deliver as promised,” Baker exclaimed.
The data gathered in the report states more scammers were impersonating Amazon as a brand. Baker states most of the time, this can be seen as objects being ordered off of a scammed website that looks like Amazon, however, when items arrive they’re usually knock-off brands, or the item never arrives.
Baker recommends checking the website to see if it’s legitimate, and not placing personal information online. Baker went in-depth to state younger crowds are at risk.
“Think about how young people are using the internet, social media,” Baker stated, “It’s easy to scroll through Instagram, see something you like, click to buy, and hope it comes.”
The second-largest scam on the scam tracker risk report states employment scams were targeting at-home positions. Scammers use the internet to conduct interviews, employ people, and perform certain tasks that are often persuaded as job duties.
According to the BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, “Phony job offers often include part-time, flexible jobs that fit within the growing gig economy.”
Baker says individuals lose a large sum of money from these positions. They are often promised payment and after performing their tasks they don’t receive any cash.
The third riskiest scam on the BBB’s report was fake checks and money orders. According to the BBB, the average money lost to this scam is $1,679.00. Baker states this could be an outcome due to young people not being as knowledgeable about the way a check works.
“Just because the bank gives you the money does not mean the check is real,” Baker said, “you need to wait until that check clears and it can be anywhere from a couple of days, and a couple of weeks.”
Meanwhile. the biggest piece of advice to avoid these forms of fraud are to conduct personal research before making any large moves, Baker says some red flags to watch out for when trying to understand a scam is cheap prices, the websites being used, and check their verification on the better business bureau’s website.
“find out who you’re dealing with, and what their track record is…” Baker said, “and when in doubt ask someone, ask a friend, ask a family member get a second-opinion to take a look at it