Reports to Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker in 2016 confirmed tax scams are still the top scam, despite a huge drop in reports after a September police raid in Mumbai, India.
The list was compiled based on more than 30,000 scam reports filed by consumers on bbb.org/scamtracker, a free, interactive online tool launched last year by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust. Not all consumers lost money, as many recognized the scam before being victimized, but reported it anyway to help warn others.
The top three scams on the 2016 list – tax scams, debt collection scams, and sweepstakes/prizes/gifts scams – were the same as in 2015.
New to the top 10 are online purchase scams (No. 4) and phishing scams (No. 10). Online purchase scams were common in 2015 as well, but this scam type was not added as a BBB Scam Tracker category until 2016.
Employment scams (No. 5) are also new to the top 10, but only because work-from-home scams, previously a separate category, were included. Another change is the drop of tech support scams from no. 4 last year to no. 7 this year.
Scam Type / Scam Reports / Percentage / Last Year
Tax Scams (IRS and CRA) / 7,530 / 25.0 / 24.0
Debt Collections / 2,456 / 8.2 / 8.3
Sweepstakes/Prizes/Gifts / 2,102 / 7.0 / 8.0
Online Purchase / 1,891 / 6.3 / —
Employment / 1,773 / 5.9 / —
Government Grant / 1,453 / 4.8 / 5.7
Tech Support / 1,382 / 4.6 / 6.0
Advance Fee Loan / 965 / 3.2 / 3.8
Fake Check/Money Order / 872 / 2.9 / 2.4
Phishing / 776 / 2.6 / —
BBB encourages consumers to learn how to recognize scams and avoid them by following these 10 simple steps: bbb.org/avoidscams.