CHICAGO (WLS) -- The annual Scam Tracker report from the Better Business Bureau of Chicago shows that fraudsters keep coming up with various schemes snare victims from all age groups.
With a stabilizing economy, low unemployment, and holiday spending remaining vigorous, menacing online shopping scams remain dominant for the fourth year in a row. The pandemic has forever changed the fact that shopping on websites and apps is the most common purchase method.
Scams remain at an all-time high since the pandemic. Scammers continue to add twists and technology, even setting traps with AI and conducting fake virtual or phone interviews, especially in employment scams.
Phishing scams continue to be the second most reported scam locally for the third year. Phishing scams not only flood consumers' e-mail inboxes and text messages but are also a dangerous weapon cyber criminals use to infiltrate businesses.
Jumping into the third position this year are Employment scams. Having employees work virtually and virtual hiring has made fake job opportunities ripe for scammers who know the value of stealing personal identity and banking information.
The fourth most reported scam is Counterfeit Products. Many fake websites are popping up, and consumers report paying for items they never receive or cheap knock-off merchandise being delivered.
Home Improvement scams, notorious for victims losing the most money, jumped from ninth to fifth this year. A new entry to this year's Top 10 list is Healthcare/Medicare/Medicaid scams at number six.
The complete top 10 list of local consumer scams is as follows:
1. Online Purchase - (#1 for the fourth year in a row - most often fake websites - often Pets)
2. Phishing Scams - (Clicking on scam links can lead to malware - imposter scams)
3. Employment - (Scam job offers - often "work from home")
4. Counterfeit Products (Clothing, electronics, shoes, purses, etc.)
5. Home Improvement Scams
7. Advance Fee Loans (Loans that can be outright scams or, as consumers allege, very misleading)
8. Identity Theft (It's not a matter of if; it's a matter of when. You can take all the safeguards and still have your ID stolen.)
9. Tech Support
10. Debt Collections
For more information, or if you've spotted a scam, visit the Better Business Bureau's website at BBB.org.