NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As a new year gets underway, scammers are gearing up to sneak into your accounts; snag your information; and steal your money, as well as your peace of mind.

Whether these cons involve weight loss, work opportunities, phishing messages, or furry friends, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a few tips to help consumers avoid falling for any scams in 2023.

“This is the time of year when we encourage consumers to have a plan in place to avoid being scammed,” said Robyn Householder, the president and CEO of BBB Serving Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. “The one thing we want consumers to remember is never to make a buying decision under pressure. Adhering to this tip can save you hundreds of dollars this year.”

Weight loss scams

If your goal for 2023 is to lose weight, the BBB urges you to beware of any products or free trials promoting fast or miraculous results.

For example, if a product promises you will lose 10 or 20 pounds a week, officials said that should serve as a red flag.

Also, while free trials for weight loss supplements might sound tempting, you need to find out how long the trial lasts and how much you will pay once it’s over.

Employment scams

Plenty of people are seeking a new job for the new year, but make sure you don’t fall victim to an employment scam involving jobs that turn out to be fake.

If a job opportunity requires money from you upfront for job supplies, training fees, and applications, the BBB said it could be a scam.

You should also watch out for small jobs that offer big money.

According to officials, if a potential employer “is promising outrageously good wages for what seems like simple tasks such as reshipping packages, stuffing envelopes, or answering phones,” consider this a red flag.

The BBB said scammers will use these “too-good-to-be-true offers” to try to steal your personal information through fake job applications, which can lead to long-term problems for you.

Phishing scams

According to the BBB, phishing scams and fraudulent messages are designed to grab your attention, as well as your personal information.

Whether it’s a text messages saying you must click a link to verify your account, or an email or call claiming your computer has been infected, officials said those may all be scams.

In order to confirm whether additional information is needed for your account, you should contact the business directly. 

Puppy for sale scams

In the words of the BBB, “Purchasing a puppy is at an all-time high and can be an emotionally charged experience.”

According to officials, consumers are being scammed by online sellers who request money before letting the buyers meet the pet in person. Then, after the payment is made to the seller, the puppy is never shipped or available for pickup.

To avoid being scammed, the BBB recommends following these tips:

  • Arrange an in-person meeting with the prospective seller in order to inspect the pet. Most legitimate breeders will welcome the visit.
  • Never send money via wire transfer to people or companies you don’t know and trust.
  • Find out if there is a listing for the business or the breeder on the BBB’s website.
  • Consider visiting your local animal shelter. After all, many shelters are trying to help relieve animal stress and reduce overcrowding at their facilities by looking for fosters.

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Before doing business with any company, you are encouraged to visit the BBB’s website and do some research. In addition, any suspected fraud should be reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by filing an online complaint or calling 877-FTC-Help.