AUSTIN, Texas - The Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas has released a 2023 mid-year report detailing the most common and costly scams.
"People posing as employers, online merchants, crypto, even pet scams, dog scams," said Devin Benavides, regional director for the Permian Basin, Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas. "Those are some of the big ones that we're seeing."
$4 million has already been lost by Texans in just the first half of 2023. That amount is more than consumers lost in an entire year from 2018-2022.
According to the BBB, the top three costliest scams were sweepstakes scams ($630,000), online purchase scams ($768,000) and cryptocurrency or investment scams ($1.6 million).
"Typically, what will happen is the scammer will pose as a trader, provide fake dashboards with results to convince the consumer the investment is doing well and then convince them to put more money into the fake account," said Benavides.
Cryptocurrency scams are targeting a younger demographic along with employment scams.
According to the BBB, reports of employment scams have increased by over 250% nationwide compared to the same time period last year.
"The climate has changed in the past three years," said Benavides. "There are a lot of opportunities for people to work from home, and that has become very attractive to a lot of people, so scammers are capitalizing on that."
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Motivations could vary. Perhaps the consumer will be asked for personal bank account information with the promise that it will be used to set up direct deposit.
"Research them, do a deep dive into this company. A lot of times you're not going to be the first person that they're going to scam," said Benavides. "Also be wary of immediate offers and start dates, where they're not really giving you a lot of time to think about things and make a decision."
FOX 7 asked about artificial intelligence-related scams as that technology grows. Benavides said that's something they're keeping an eye on.
"They're always one step ahead of everybody else," she said.
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