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Online scams rise by nearly 90%, Better Business Bureau says

A BBB spokesperson said the new way that scammers are finding victims is becoming using impersonations and text messages.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Online scams are on the rise. According to the Better Business Bureau, online scams rose 87% from 2015 to 2022. During the same period, scams over the phone dropped by 42%.

“While online scams are the most prevalent, the new way they’re finding the victims is by using impersonations and text messaging,” said Jessica Hamlin of the BBB of central Ohio.

So far in 2022, online scams are 55% more prevalent than other delivery methods, with 75% of people losing money when targeted.

Text messaging was the most reported offline method used to push people online. The BBB says scams made by text messaging rose from 11% in 2015 to 30% in 2022.

A big target for scammers is people between the ages of 18 and 24. The BBB says this age group has the biggest jump in average dollar loss compared to other age groups by about 25% and they're more likely to trust internet influencers.

“Being online and being influenced and being in the path of the scammer is what is giving you that ability to fall to the con,” Hamlin said.

The BBB said the best way to avoid falling for a scam is to listen to your gut and remember if it's too good to be true, it probably is. It's best to do your research from a trustworthy source, and, if someone pressures you to act immediately, take that as a red flag.

Prevention tips

  • If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be careful purchasing sought-after products.
  • Before you buy, do your research with a trusted source.
  • Avoid making quick purchases on social media.
  • Use secure and traceable transactions.
  • Choose your online payment system carefully.
  • Don’t believe everything you see.
  • Ask for verification and take time to do research with a trustworthy source.
  • Be skeptical about anyone who reaches out to you unsolicited.

The BBB has a scam tracker to help consumers and businesses report fraud. The BBB scam tracker also helps people search the scam reports to help determine if they are being targeted.

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