BBB Scam Spotlight: July 2019

Written by on August 14, 2019

Columbus, OH (August 6, 2019) – Each year, one in four North American households are scammed. Because money loss and identity theft can happen to anyone, BBB encourages community members to protect and inform others by reporting any scam-related experiences to BBB’s Scam Tracker.

In July, Central Ohio consumers reported $112,000 lost to scams.

BBB analyzed 49 Scam Tracker reports from July 2019 to shed a spotlight on three scams affecting our Central Ohio community:

1. Sweepstakes: Sweepstakes scams were the most common type of scam reported in July. One Johnstown resident reported a loss of $100,000 to this type of scam. They began receiving calls from a man who claimed that the consumer had won “the Global Sweepstakes, 2.5 million [dollars], new house, new car of [their] choice and $50,000 in cash.” Before they could receive the money, the scammer said the consumer needed to “pay taxes or buy a Seal to get the prize documented.” The consumer gave them their credit card information and mailed cash to different addresses. BBB has tips on how to spot a sweepstakes scam.

2. Tech Support: A Columbus resident reported losing $1,400 to a tech support scam. The resident received a pop up on their laptop warning them that their computer had been “infected” and they should call the number provided on the pop up. The resident talked to an individual who identified himself as Steve Anderson, who claimed the consumer’s laptop had a virus. Anderson claimed that if the consumer paid $1,372 they would clean up their computer. The consumer declined to give Anderson their bank account information at first but when they received a contract from Docusign, the consumer sent Anderson their credit card number. BBB wants to remind consumers that you should never give control of your computer to a third party and has tips on how to avoid tech support scams.

3. Employment: A Columbus resident lost $2,000 to an employment scam in July. The consumer received an email to be a secret shopper from a scammer calling themselves “Michael Haywood.” The consumer was mailed four $800 money orders which they cashed and deposited that same day. The consumer then bought some Best Buy gift cards with the money orders and sent pictures of the gift cards to Michael. A week later, the money orders bounced and the gift card balances were at zero. BBB recommends following these tips to protect yourself against employment scams.
Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.

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