The Better Business Bureau has released its 2018 Scam Tracker risk report which indicated that 50,559 scams were reported nationwide.
Employment scams were the riskiest because consumers can compromise personal information such as social security numbers and banking information.
The report found that students and people aged 18 to 34 were most likely targeted in those scams. It revealed that more women were victimized, but the BBB said the men reportedly lost more money from employment scams.
According to the agency, online purchase scams ranked second. The scammer targets a buyer to make an online purchase from an individual seller or company, but the item never arrives, or the reverse - a person sells an item online, but receives a fake check.
Number three: Fake checks or money orders. This happens when a consumer receives a check that contains what the scammer claims is an "accidental overpayment." The scammer then asks the consumer to wire back the extra money. The consumer deposits the check, withdraws the funds, and later finds out the check is fake.
Fourth: Home improvement scams. This involves door-to-door solicitors who offer consumers low-cost repairs. They either take payments without returning, do shoddy work or “find” issues that dramatically raise the price.
Lastly, advance fee loan scams. A loan is “guaranteed” but comes with upfront charges like taxes or “processing fees.” When the consumer pays the charges, there’s no loan. The applicant was tricked into paying the taxes and fees.
In Connecticut, there were 437 reported scams. Of those, 106 were related to online purchases, and 42 forms of employment scams.
“Scams are getting more realistic,” said Luke Frey, of the BBB in Connecticut.
Frey warns the public to remain vigilante by reporting any scams to their agency.
“After we see a trend in scams, complaints to a business. Anything, we look into it and then try to stop it as best we can,” said Frey.
The BBB pointed out that they saw an 86 percent increase of people becoming victims with an average loss of $152 in 2018. More people lose money through online scams and through social media.
Younger consumers were most likely to be scammed than older ones in all scams, but older victims lose significantly more money.
If you suspect you’re a victim, report it to the BBB.