Better Business Bureau: Top scams of 2017

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Steve Bernas of the Better Business Bureau shared the top scams of the last year.


BBB's Chicago and Northern Illinois Top Scams of 2017
Chicago - Jan. 4, 2018

Phishing Scams topped the list of 2017 reports to Chicago and Northern Illinois Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, knocking out the Tax Collection scam which has topped the list both locally and nationally for the past few years.

Phishing scams have become the doorway for many cyber criminals to launch ransomware and malware attacks on businesses and consumers, and often leads to massive losses in money and valuable data. The BBB advises: never click on links or open attachments from unsolicited emails, and never provide personal information without first verifying the source.

"The more we inform consumers on scam tactics, what to look for and how to avoid them, the better chance we have to stop fraudsters in their tracks," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of BBB serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

Another one that lit up Scam Tracker in 2017 was the "Can You Hear Me" scam where fraudsters faked having a headset problem in an attempt to get unsuspecting victims to say "yes" on a recorded line which could be used as phony proof of purchases in the future.

Rounding out the top three reflects the proliferation of Online Purchase Scams as the number of fake websites continues to rise. Scammers pose as legitimate operations selling fake vacations, high demand merchandise at discount prices, and even fake pets.

"That's why our online Scam Tracker tool is so vital in the work we do," added Bernas. "We are only as good as the information we receive so that's why it's so important for consumers to report any activity they suspect is fraudulent to BBB Scam Tracker, even if they themselves weren't scammed. We consider those who report to be citizen heroes because they are informing others and helping us to do the same. Knowledge is power and it's one of the most effective tools we have to help put a stop to scams."

Top 10 Scams of 2017:

1. Phishing Emails/Texts - stealing money and information
2. Can You Hear Me - phone scam
3. Online Purchase - fake websites
4. Employment - job offer scams
5. Tax Collection - fake IRS or Treasury Dept. calls/emails
6. Debt Collections - invoices, calls or emails for fake debts
7. Tech Support - calls, texts or emails from fake tech support agents

8. Sweepstake/Lottery/Prizes - fake claims to steal money upfront
9. Travel/Vacations - too good to be true offers
10. Identity Theft - fraudulent activity using your personal information

BBB encourages consumers to learn how to recognize scams and to avoid them by following these ten simple steps:

Remember to always report scammers. If you've been the target of a scam or suspect scam activity, report it to authorities and BBB Scam Tracker to warn others.

For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry, and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses and charities, visit

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ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Consumers and businesses can search business reviews and ratings on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.
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