Top 10 scams coming after your money!

Written by |

Scammers are always out to steal your personal information and money — and 2016 was no exception. Recently, the Better Business Bureau released its list of the top 10 scams over the past year.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a scam, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. And if you haven’t, don’t let your guard down. Below we list how to spot these scams, plus ways to protect yourself!

Read more: Don’t give your Social Security number at these places!​

BBB releases top 10 scams of 2016

Though a police raid in Mumbai, India made a huge dent in reducing the number of tax scams last year, tax scams still topped the list of the Better Business Bureau’s top scams of 2016.

Additionally, debt collections and sweepstakes, prizes and gifts scams took the 2nd and 3rd spot, respectively, while online purchase scams and phishing scams were new additions to the list.

The list of scams was compiled by a tool the BBB developed called the Scam Tracker, which tracks scams in real time by location. Over 30,000-plus scams were reported in 2016.

BBB releases list of top 10 scams over the last year

1. Tax scams

According to the IRS, a tax scam happens when a frauster pretends to be the IRS and demands money from tax payers via email, a phone call, or a written letter. The IRS has many tips on its website to help consumers know when they’re dealing with a scam and how to respond.

Here are some of the most common tax scams and how to avoid them:

2. Debt collections

The Federal Trade Commission describes a debt collection scam as ‘telephone calls from people trying to collect on loans the consumers never received or on loans they did receive but for amounts they do not owe.’ Scammers pose as debt collectors in an attempt to steal money from victims.


3. Sweepstakes/prizes/gifts

Scams like this start with elation, but can end in devastation. Who wouldn’t want to be notified that they won thousands, even millions of dollars, a car, or a dream vacation? But sadly, scams like this end with money or your identity being stolen from you.

The FTC has a great list of warning signs to watch out for here, but the following links can help too:

4. Online purchase scams

Online purchase scams or online shopping scams can involve a number of different kinds of fake or fraudulent websites, ads, or classified listings. With the anonymity of the Internet, it can be easy to set up a fake website and offer fake goods to unsuspecting customers. But, as the FTC notes, it’s very important to know how to discern the difference between a true retailer and a fake one.

5. Employment scams

Job or employment scams ‘trick people who are looking for honest work,’ according to the FTC. These scams often ask the people who apply for the positions to pay for something in advance, such as training, and they often promise a big payout. But, you’ll want to watch out! These kinds of job offers are most likely scams that will steal your money, and you won’t have earned a penny.

6. Government grants

Government grant scams might be an ad that claims to offer you a free grant to pay for things like education, business expenses, or bills, but according to the FTC there are two telltale signs: Your application is sure to be accepted, and you’ll never have to repay the money. After congratulating you, scamsters will ask for your financial information in order to send the grant to you. However, instead of giving you money, these scams will steal money from your bank account.

7. Technical support

A tech support scam is when a scammer calls you trying to offering what sounds like legitimate computer services or assistance, and claims to be from a well-known computer company. But once these people have gained your trust, they try to get you to give them remote access to your computer, or give them personal information such as passwords. So what’s the best thing to do when you get one of these calls? Hang up!

8. Advance fee loan

These kinds of scams prey on people by promising personal loans or credit cards regardless of someone’s credit score or credit history. If you find a credit offer that seems too good to be true and the company doesn’t seem interested in your credit history, this may be indicative of an advance fee loan scam. The FTC suggests watching out for these red flags to avoid falling for this scam.

9. Fake check/money order

Counterfeit and phony payments, such as fake checks or fake money orders can be a big headache. This scam gets people excited, much like the sweepstakes scam. You’re given a big check, and all you have to do is wire some money for taxes and fees and cash it! The trouble is, the check is fake, and the wire transfer drains your bank account. The FTC says that these kinds of fake check or money order scams are on the rise.

10. Phishing

According to the FTC, phishing is when scammers ‘impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information.’ Typically, messages are sent via email or text, and they dupe consumers into thinking they are talking with their bank or another business. But keep in mind, your bank will probably never ask you for sensitive financial information through text or email. It’s best to delete the text or email and block the sender, so these scammers can’t get the better of you.

To stay informed about the latest scams, check out our Scams and Ripoffs section.


Why your tax return might be late this year

Welcome bonuses can be a great way to boost the value of a credit card. Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses for 2023 - If you're in the market for a new credit card in 2023, you may be hoping to cash in on the hundreds of dollars in sign-up bonuses offered to new customers. Welcome bonuses and offers are a marketing tool that…
The best cell phone plans include Tello, Mint Mobile, Visible, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular and more Best Cell Phone Plans in 2023: The Cheapest Plan for Every Need - Team Clark ranks the best cell phone plans and deals! See our favorites for unlimited data, families and cheap plans starting at $10/month.