Top Scams of 2013
I chose a picture of Mr. Madoff, because he is the poster boy for the scam.
And trust me, there are no end to the number of scams active in this country at any given time. The Better Business Bureau has unveiled the top scams of 2013. The scams are widespread and target all ages. Ever get a Facebook friend request from someone you already thought was your friend? Your newly-accepted friend could be a scammer trying to learn more about you by using the Facebook identity of someone you know. You could be duped at home, too. Contractors promise work on areas you can’t see, like air ducts or crawl spaces. They then take your money and disappear. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that Americans lost $1.4 billion to scams in 2012. BBB’s Top Ten Scams of 2013:
- Medical Alert Scam: We talked about this scam on the morning show, with our friends from Lifespan and CentraCare. This scam targeted seniors and caretakers with the promise of a free medical alert system. Scammers told victims their family members had already paid for it and they would just need to provide their bank account or credit information for verification.
- Auction Reseller Scam: Scammers used Ebay and PayPal to lure in their victims. They figured out a way to have sellers mail the goods without receiving payment. The sellers receive an email that looks like it is from PayPal, but it was really just a fake. The BBB says always confirm payments in your eBay and PayPal accounts before shipping goods, especially overseas.
- Arrest Warrant Scam: These scams take advantage of the fact that you can change what shows up on caller IDs when you call someone. Scammers change their name to resemble a law enforcement agency and call people to tell them they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest. They tell victims they can pay to avoid criminal charges.
- Invisible Home Improvements: Scammers simply knock at your door and offer a great deal for home repairs that you can’t see, such as crawl spaces, air ducts, chimneys, and roofs. You can check out home contractors at bbb.org before hiring them.
- Casting Call Scam: Scammers pose as casting agents for hit television shows. They either offer acting lessons or photography sessions to help the aspiring actor or charge fees for fake applications and casting calls.
- Foreign Currency Scam: Scammers target their victims and tell them they can make great investments by purchasing foreign currency. You are told you can sell and cash in when governments revalue the currency, but this is very unlikely to happen and the currency will be difficult to sell.
- Scam Texts: These texts look like an alert from your bank asking you to confirm information with a fake link. Sometimes the link will download malicious software that gives scammers access to everything on your phone.
- Do Not Call Scams: Scammers call and offer to add your name to the National Do Not Call Registry. They ask for personal information and sometimes charge a fee to join.
- Fake Friend Scam: On Facebook, people are creating fake profiles to be used in a variety of ways. Some will download malware or use your account to prey on your friends. (I've actually had a couple of these myself! When in doubt, delete!!)
- Scam of the Year: Affordable Care Act Scam – Scammers used the uncertainty of Obamacare to trick Americans into sharing personal information. They call victims and offer new insurance or Medicare cards if they provide personal information.