BBB Scam Spotlight: January 2020
Columbus, OH (February 25, 2020) – People reported losing $222,772 to fraud in 2019. 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 January, Central Ohio consumers reported $183,000 lost to scams.
BBB analyzed 50 Scam Tracker reports from January 2020 to shed a spotlight on three scams affecting our Central Ohio community:
- Romance Scams: In February 2019, a Marysville consumer joined the dating app Plenty of Fish. He quickly met a scammer going by the name “Clara Williams”. Clara told the consumer that she was going to inherit $20 million but she needed to pay fees to get it. Clara convinced the consumer to send her the money through Amazon gift cards. Then, another scammer contacted the consumer asking him for more money. The second scammer was able to convince the consumer that he needed to pay more money or he’d go to jail. The consumer lost $119,000 before contacting the police. BBB offers the following tips to keep your information and heart safe from romance scams.
- Federal Agent Scam: A consumer in the Greater Hilltop Area lost $10,000 to a Federal Agent scam. The consumer was told their identity had been stolen and would be arrested if they didn’t pay $10,000. The consumer went to Target to purchase gift cards to pay the $10,000. The clerk there tried to tell them it was a scam. The consumer left and went to a second Target where they were able to buy the cards. The FBI wants to remind individuals they will not call or email individuals to demand money.
- Fake Check: A Columbus consumer lost $3,000 to a fake check scam. A scam company, calling themselves GMR Marketing, was offering secret shopper assignments. The consumer received $3,000 and took on a “secret shopper role” and purchased products from the scammer to provide a review. The next day, the money from the check had disappeared from their bank account. Fake checks have taken over the market, be wary of companies giving checks out with large deposits.
Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.
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