BIG RAPIDS – Online shopping fraud was the top scam of 2021 in the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan’s 38-county region.
#2 on the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan’s list of top scams of 2021 was phishing fraud. Lottery/lottery scams have linked employment scams to number 3 on the list, according to a statement.
Pet scams topped the BBB list of online shopping fraud. The biggest mistake consumers made was buying a pet online without first seeing the animal in person.
Scammers often create fake breeding sites with photos to trick consumers into buying a pet online.
“You should never give someone money for an animal until you’ve seen it with your own eyes. That’s the only way to know it’s real and not a scam,” he said. Lisa Frohnapfel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan, said in the release, “Scammers find any number of reasons to charge you, and the dog never comes. This hurts people on two levels. Victims often tell us that they are more upset about not having the dog than about the money they lost.
Phishing scams occur when consumers receive emails and phone calls posing as organizations asking for personal information. The most popular company imitated in 2021 was Amazon.
Most contest scams involve people posing as the publisher’s clearing house. Consumers often receive phone calls or letters claiming they have won a prize, but the scammer wants personal information and/or money to send it.
Most employment scams involve fake potential employers who conduct online interviews. Employees are then asked to provide personal information and billed in advance for things like training costs and office supplies.
To avoid a pet scam, consumers should demand to see the pet in person before donating money. Consumers can also check bbb.org for approved breeders and shelters.
For other scams, consumers should never give personal information over the phone or click on suspicious links. The BBB also warns that offers that seem too good to be true may be a scam.
If you are a victim or have been targeted by scams, you can report it to bbb.org/scamtracker.