BBB Scam Squad

  • Americans lose $50 billion a year to scams, which affect 1 in 4 households and 1 in 5 individuals each year.
    Falling for a scam can happen to you or anyone – not just the elderly or people on fixed incomes.
  • We want you to tell the story of someone who fell for a scam.
    The victim should be between 15 and 24 years old. You will need to choose one of the top 10 scams, show how it happened and how it actually scammed the victim. You will also need to show how to report the scam on BBB Scam Tracker.

Most assumptions about scam victims are untrue …

In fact, most victims are younger and educated …


What is Scam Tracker?

Scam Tracker is a website where you can report scams and fraud, and warn others of malicious or suspicious activities. It is available in the USA and in Canada and allows BBB to collect information from consumers. This information is then shared with law enforcement agencies for use in identifying and prosecuting scammers. It’s also helpful for anyone to see what types of scams are being perpetrated in their community.

Read what Lifehacker and Consumer Reports have to say.

Top 10 Scams

#1 Online Purchase Scam

These cons often involve purchases and sales, often on eBay, Craigslist, Kijiji or other direct seller-to-buyer sites. Scammers may pretend to purchase an item only to send a bogus check and ask for a refund of the “accidental” overpayment. In other cases, the scammer will simply never deliver the goods.

#2 Investment Scam

These scams take many forms, but all prey on the desire to make money without much risk or initial funding. “Investors” are lured with false information and promises of large returns with little or no risk.

#3 Employment Scam

Victims of employment scams are led to believe they are applying or have just been hired for a promising new career while they have, in fact, given personal information or money to scammers for “training” or “equipment.” In another variation, the victim may be “overpaid” with a fake check and asked to wire back the difference.

#4 Advance Fee Loan Scam

In this scam, a loan is guaranteed, but once the victim pays upfront charges such as taxes or a “processing fee,” the loan never materializes.

#5 Fake Check/Money Order Scam

In this con, the victim deposits a phony check and then returns a portion by wire transfer to the scammer. The stories vary, but the victim is often told they are refunding an “accidental” overpayment. Scammers count on the fact that banks make funds available within days of a deposit, but can take weeks to detect a fake check.

#6 Home Improvement Scam

In this con, door-to-door solicitors offer quick, low-cost repairs and then either take payments without returning, do shoddy work or “find” issues that dramatically raise the price.

#7 Tech Support Scam

Tech support scams start with a call or popup warning that alerts the target to a computer bug or other problem. Scammers pose as tech support employees of well-known computer companies and hassle victims into paying for “support.” If the victim allows remote access, malware may be installed.

#8 Travel/Vacation Scam

Con artists post listings for properties that either are not for rent, do not exist or are significantly different than pictured. In another variation, scammers claim to specialize in timeshare resales and promise they have buyers ready to purchase.

#9 Family/Friend Emergency Scam

This scheme involves the impersonation of a friend or family member in a fabricated urgent or dire situation. The “loved one” invariably pleads for money to be sent immediately. Aided by personal details they’ve found on social media, imposters can offer very plausible stories to convince their targets.

#10 Government Grant Scam

In this con, individuals are enticed by promises of free, guaranteed government grants. The only catch is a “processing fee.” Other fees follow, but the promised grant never materializes.

More inspiration …

→ Go on and search for real incidents.
→ The 2017 Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report has personal stories.
This report will help you understand who the scam victims really are.

Ask around! After all, 1 in 5 Americans gets scammed every year and this is your chance to help reduce that number!