Employment scams were the riskiest scams in 2018, according to the latest report from the Better Business Bureau.
“This was a surprise,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, which produced the report. “It’s the first time since we began this report three years ago that one scam dominated across so many demographic subgroups. It was the riskiest scam in three of the six age groups, and for both men and women. It was also the riskiest scam for military families and veterans, and students.”
According to the report, Tech-Savvy Scammers Work to Con More Victims, employment cams had more instances and higher losses than in previous years when it ranked the third riskiest.
The report is based on data supplied by consumers to BBB Scam TrackerSM and is based on the BBB Risk Index, a unique algorithm that calculates exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss to offer a more accurate assessment of scam risk.
“Scammers are opportunists,” Trumpower said. “Whatever is in the news or being talked about on social media, they see as an opening to imposter a recognizable and respected organization or brand.”
The Internal Revenue Service is the leading impersonated organization, and other government agencies together rank second. Other leading brands that scammers impersonate include Publishers Clearing House, Microsoft, Apple, and the Better Business Bureau.
“Employment scams are particularly egregious because they prey on people who are already feeling pinched and may be desperate for work,” she said. “If the scam gets far enough, scammers collect the same information that real employers do – address, birth date, Social Security number, bank account – everything needed for identity theft.”
The ten riskiest scams of 2018 were: employment, online purchase, fake checks/money orders, home improvement, advance fee loans, romance, tech support, investment, travel/vacation, and a government grant.
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