BBB Scam Spotlight: November 2019
Columbus, OH (December 12, 2019) – People reported losing $1.48 billion to fraud last year – an increase of 38% over 2017. 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 November, Central Ohio consumers reported $6,000 lost to scams.
BBB analyzed 72 Scam Tracker reports from November 2019 to shed a spotlight on three scams affecting our Central Ohio community:
- Online Purchase: A Zanesville consumer, who is an independent beauty representative, lost $2,500 to a scammer pretending to be a legitimate customer. The consumer was contacted by the scammer through direct message on Instagram asking about her products. They did a “mobile to mobile deposit into [her] account” of $2,500. The consumer purchased the merchandise for the scammer and the next day, the consumer saw their Instagram account had been hacked. She then received a message from her bank that her account had been overdrawn by $2,000. The consumer had to shut down their Instagram account. BBB offers the following tips to keep you and your account protected when using peer-to-peer payment apps.
- Advance Fee Loan Scam: A Whitehall consumer lost money through a company calling themselves Upstart Loans. While the consumer was applying for loans online, Upstart contacted them saying they could get them a loan. All the consumer had to do was “pay $110 for insurance”. The consumer gave the scammers her card number, they validated the payment and told her “to expect the money 10-15 minutes later.” When the money didn’t appear, the consumer called the scammer back at the number they had given her. The scammer told the consumer her “name was on a blacklist” and to remove her name she would “have to pay $200.” Once the consumer gave the scammers her card number for this payment, they told her, “the money would be on the card in 20 minutes.” Nothing came and when the consumer called again, the scammers said they would need an additional $280. The consumer was transferred to several different individuals and now when she calls the number, the line is always busy. Always keep these tips in mind when applying for loans online.
- Sweepstakes: A Plain City resident was contacted by a scammer telling her she had won the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, despite her not entering the sweepstakes. When the consumer called the number back, she was told to go to CVS and buy “a giftcard for $500.” When the consumer went to CVS, the “manager said he wasn’t sure if it was a scam.” When the consumer called the scammer to tell them she didn’t “have that kind of money” the scammer said “you’re not giving us cash or anything?” and the consumer hung up. BBB wants to remind consumers that if you will never have to pay money to receive a prize, and if don’t remember entering a contest, it’s a scam.
Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.
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