Better Business Bureau Report Reveals Riskiest Consumer Fraud Scams of 2017
According to a new report from the Better Business Bureau, online purchase scams are now the riskiest form of consumer fraud out there, moving up from the fourth spot in 2016, to the first in 2017. While young people were the highest at risk as a group in general, money lost was highest for older victims.
The most common online purchase scams for 2017 involved automobiles, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, and pets. To be sure, 67 percent of scams involved cosmetics, while 60 percent involved nutrition products where the offer of a free trial opportunity was a common theme in roping in victims. Investment scams were another common source, especially for older age groups, accompanied by higher average monetary loss.
Florida Leads Nation in Consumer Fraud
Unfortunately, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Florida was the number one state in the nation for reported consumer fraud last year. According to the FTC, it received close to 208,500 consumer reports of fraud last year in Florida, which averaged 9993 per 100,000 state residents.
Scam Topics & Tactics
In addition to online purchase and investment scams, the riskiest scams in 2017 included advance fee loans, employment, fake checks, family/friend emergencies, government grants, home improvement, tech support, and travel/vacations.
Yet, regardless of the subject matter, the Better Business Bureau reported that scammers frequently rely on the same tactics, such as promising great deals, placing strict time pressures on responding, intimidation, and isolation.
Warning Signs of a Scam
To better protect yourself, be aware of some of the common signs that something might be a scam; signs such as:
- An offer that sounds too good to be true, such as winning a large sweepstakes prize or receiving money from a relative or name you do not recognize;
- They ask for private information, such as bank information or social security number;
- They ask you to wire money;
- They request fees in advance (it is illegal to demand this up-front before funding a loan or providing a prize); and/or
- Placing pressure to pay immediately or lose the opportunity.
Also be wary of engaging in transactions involving an unsecured WIFI connection and make sure that you always receive a written contract for any consumer services which clearly define the obligations of the customer and provider. Remember that you can always check references with the Better Business Bureau.
Florida Consumer Fraud & Consumer Protection Attorneys
At Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A., we have a combined record of more than 130 years of protecting consumers against consumer fraud throughout Florida. You are protected against fraud by state and federal commercial laws, therefore, if you have been the victim of consumer fraud, we will work with you to pursue your claim and convince the Florida Bureau of Insurance Fraud to investigate the claim. Contact one of our team members today to find out more.