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'Top 10 Scams of 2012' listed by Better Business Bureau

1:19 PM, Jan 15, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - There were quite a few scams circulating the area in 2012.

Michelle Corey with the Better Business Bureau let us in on the Top 10 Scams of 2012.

The list was compiled through information from consumers, federal agencies, and other reliable sources.

Here are the BBB's Top 10 Scams of 2012:
Top Overpayment/Fake Check Scam: Car Ads
- The ad online talks about getting paid for just driving around, and offers payment of over $400 per week to drive with a company logo on your car. They send you a check that they say to deposit into your account and then wire money to the graphic designer who will customize an ad for your vehicle. The check then bounces and you are out the money you wired.

Top Emergency Scam: Grandparents Scam
- Elderly people are targeted by phone calls/texts/emails by someone claiming to be that person's grandchild. The suspect says they need money right away because they have been mugged/arrested/hurt while abroad. The suspect instructs the victim to wire money and to not tell the person's parents.

Top Employment Scam: Mystery Shopping
- Scammers say they will offer the opportunity to be a secret shopper, evaluating companies and even wire transfer services.

Top Advance Fee/Prepayment Scam: Nonexistent Loans
- These scams often advertise online, promising there will not be a credit check and easy repayment policies. These scams tell the users they need to pay an up-front fee to "secure" the loan.

Top Phishing Scam: President Obama Will Pay Your Utility Bills
- During summer the surge of utility costs, scammers send emails, letters, and even show up at front doors telling victims about ways a "new government program" will help pay utility bills. They then tell the victims they must register on an official-looking website and provide bank account information.

Top Sweepstakes/Lottery Scam: Jamaican Phone Lottery
- A phone call from Jamaica (area code 876) comes to the victim claiming to represent the BBB, FBI, or other trusted group, saying the victim has won a large prize.

Top Identity Theft Scam: Fake Facebook Tweets
- Direct messages are sent on Twitter or Facebook, which appear to be from a friend. The messages contain a link, and when the link is clicked on, the website will say you need to update Flash or another video player. The victim then clicks to download the new "software" but they are really downloading a virus or malware.

Top Home Improvement Scam: Sandy "Storm Chasers"
- Following large storms such as Superstorm Sandy, tree removal, roofing, and general home repair contractors come from other areas to offer services to storm victims. While some of these workers are legitimate, others are unlicensed, uninsured, and ill-prepared. Some are even scammers who take money up front and never do work.

Top Sales/Rental Scam: Real Stars, Fake Goods
- Counterfeit items are sold during big events, including sporting events. Counterfeit merchandise can strike the Super Bowl, World Series, and Olympic Games.

Scam of the Year: Newtown Charity Scams
- Within hours of the shootings, websites asking for people to donate money began popping up. Some of these websites were scams.

The BBB has launched two websites to help consumers figure out of an offer is real or a scam: BBB Smart Investing and BBB Scam Stopper. For more resources, visit the BBB's website.


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