BBB’s top 5 riskiest scams in 2018

More than 50,500 scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau in 2018, according to the organization’s annual Scam Tracker Risk Report.

To avoid being scammed, the BBB suggested not clicking on links or opening attachments in random email and not shopping online unless “https” is in the URL.

The organizations also said to never sending money to someone you have never met in person.

The following are the top five riskiest scams according to the BBB:

1) Employment

Up from third place, employment took the top spot in the BBB’s riskiest scams list last year. Making up 9.1% of scams reported in 2018, victims of employment scams lost a median of $1,204.

2) Online purchases

Despite being the second riskiest scam, online purchases increased from 4,655 scams reported in 2017 to 10,450 reports in 2018.

The most common items involved in online purchase scams are pets, automobiles and automobile parts, clothing, cosmetics and electronics.

3) Fake check/money orders

Fake check scams continued to move up the risk list from fifth in 2017 to third in 2018. Making up 4% of scams last year, it was one of the costliest for victims at a median of $1,500.

Fake check scams are tied with employment as the riskiest scams for students.

4) Home improvement

With spring cleaning on most people’s mind, home improvement scams, especially ones that go door-to-door, are very popular.

Costing victims a median of $1,745, it is the second most common scam for members of the military.

5) Advance fee loans

Advance fee loan scams promise a loan after processing fees, taxes or other upfront charges are paid. Unfortunately for victims, the money never comes, leaving them further in debt.

In 2018, more than 1,500 advance fee loans were reported to the BBB with a media loss of $675.

News Center 7's I-Team is looking further into home improvement scams, with a focus of tree trimming companies. Tune in at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, as James Brown confronts owners of two companies with the most consumer complaints.