NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The internet is a wonderland for scammers. One wrong click, and they’ll steal your information or money faster than the Grinch stole Christmas.
A search of the most popular online scams on the BBB Scam Tracker website shows nearly 300 have been reported across the state so far this year.
“What’s great about it is it’s a heat map so you’re able to search by keyword and see where it’s happening and when and what the value of those scams are,” said Robyn Householder, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
On the BBB Scam Tracker, you can search by keyword, scam type, location. There are presumably many more scams happening that don’t get reported, but if you’re a victim and do report it, that helps track down scammers.
“We have several government agencies that will use the (BBB Scam Tracker) to help with investigations, like the Federal Trade Commission,” Householder said.
The BBB is highlighting the top 5 scams in our region over the past year.
Number One: Online Purchase Scams
Householder said these are often retail offers or investment opportunities that come in pop up ads or emails.
“The biggest thing we see on these pop up ads is you never get the products,” Householder said. “You make the payment and you never see the purchase. Most of those scams are coming in from overseas, so it’s very hard to trace those.”
Number Two: Employment Scams
With the holidays approaching, scammers know people may be looking to make some extra money. Householder said the biggest red flag is an offer for a job which you never applied.
“The real tell tale sign is when they ask you to pay a fee, so that’s absolutely something that we don’t want folks to do,” Householder said. “No legitimate employer is going to charge you for materials to work for them.”
Number Three: Phishing Scams
“As the name implies, what the scammer is hoping for, if they cast a big enough net, a few people are going to fall prey,” Householder said. “Whether it is a scam to steal your information because they’ve given you an email and have asked for information, they’re pretending to be the IRS, they’re pretending to be your employer, they’re pretending to be practically anyone and the ultimate goal here is to just get your information.”
Number Four: Tech Support Scams
You may get a pop up message on your computer that says there’s an error or you need to run a virus scan.
“More often than not, that’s probably going to open up some ransomware and that loss is significant. What we see in most companies is a cyber security loss average of about $12,000 dollars.”
Number Five: Fake Check or Money Order Scams
This often happens when you sell something online and the buyer appears to overpay you and wants some of the money back via wire transfer, or they wrote you a bad check that bounces and you owe money to the bank.
Go to www.bbb.org/scamtracker to search for scams in your area.
You can click on the individual scam reports to find out more detailed information so you know what to look out for.
News 2 is helping you fight back against other holiday scams. We expose scammers tricks in our Holiday ScamBusters special reports all day Monday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.