GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A recent report from the Better Business Bureau said that online scams have risen but phone scams have fallen in the last seven years.
Since 2015, online scams have risen 87%, according to the latest BBB Online Scams Report. The same time period showed a 42% decrease in phone scams.
This year, online scams have been the most reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker website. The most common scam was where customers tried to buy something from social media, the bureau said.
A woman in Walker spent $167 to buy two fireplaces she found on a Facebook page that were advertised as part of a warehouse closeout sale. But the items never arrived and she later found the same photos in a different advertisement with a different website name, the BBB said.
Similarly, someone in the Ludington area reported to the bureau that they spent $80 on a website that claimed to be selling TVs for a good deal. The TV never arrived and the customer did not receive any contact from the site after the payment. The site did have what the BBB called an “unusual name” and the buyer had never used it before, according to the bureau.
Traditionally, older people lost the most money to scams, according to the BBB. But the latest numbers show that people ages 18-24 have been the most common victims of online purchase scams.
The BBB advises, “If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.” It recommends that consumers do their research before buying from online sites. You can verify that a business is BBB Accredited on BBB.org and searching the company name.
It also recommended avoiding making quick purchases on social media and using non-traditional payment methods like wire transfer, prepaid money card or gift card.