(CBSDFW.COM) – In 2019, consumers in North Texas reported losing nearly $350,000 to scam artists, according to the Better Business Bureau.
The agency recently released a list of this year’s top cons.
The most reported scam of 2019 dealt with phishing. The BBB said 163 people in North Texas alerted the BBB to phishing scams this year. You should never trust unsolicited messages asking for your personal information.
While buying her first home, Gracie Veronica wired money to someone she thought was her title officer after receiving a convincing email.
She lost $45,000 in one fell swoop.
“For someone to come and take away what I’ve been saving up for years….what am I going to do now?” said Veronica. “It’s an enormous amount of money, and I’ve worked so hard.”
“The biggest thing is just to stay vigilant,” said Devin Dedeaux of the BBB. “Keep a suspicious eye for things you don’t recognize.”
The easiest way to spot a phishing email is to check for proper grammar and spelling.
With 116 reports, the second biggest scam of 2019 dealt with online purchases.
Scammers may pretend to sell you an item but never deliver the goods.
The best defense is making sure you’re buying from a secure website. In the URL, look for a padlock and the letters “h-t-t-p-s.”
“Make sure you’re looking for an address, contact number, and email in case something goes awry and you need to get in contact with the company,” Dedeaux advised.
Employment scams ranked third with 73 reports. The BBB said crooks take advantage of people by “accidentally” overpaying employees with a fake check and then asking them to wire back the difference. Workers could also be asked to buy expensive equipment with their own money.
Take Larissa Royster, for example. Through an online posting, she found a gig that required her to print bad checks on paper that she was expected to buy herself. The bank alerted her to the fraudulent scheme.
Beware of any employer asking you to pay upfront for training fees or to immediately provide banking information to run a background or credit check.
“If someone gives you a job before they’ve interviewed you, you need to be cautious,” Dedeaux said.
Here are the other top scams of 2019, according to the BBB:
4. Fake check/money order scam (43 reports)
5. Tech support scam (34 reports)
6. Lottery scam (31 reports)
7. Debt collection scam (29 reports)
8. Government grant scam (27 reports)
9. Credit card scam (20 reports)
10. Advanced fee loan scam (13 reports)