Scammers are constantly looking for new ways to tap into your accounts, steal your information and grab your money.
The Better Business Bureau is issuing alerts about some of the top scams to watch for this coming year of 2023.
Puppy for sale scam
Bridget Huddleston thought she’d have a new puppy to start the new year. But her hopes were dashed when she fell victim to a puppy scam.
“She played on my naiveté and my loneliness,” Huddleston said.
She found one for sale in an online Facebook group, and arranged with the seller to pick it up at the airport.
But when she got there, she says, “the man there had no idea what I was talking about. There were no pets at the airport.”
There was no dog. Huddleston lost $200.
Sarah Wetzel of the Better Business Bureau says, sadly, this happened to many people over the holidays.
“We see so many scams and so many people losing so much money,” Wetzel said.
The puppy scam, however, is just one in a long list of scams that target people trying to get a fresh start.
Weight loss scams
If weight loss is your goal in the new year, Wetzel says beware of products or free trials that promise “quick results.”
“10 pounds a week, 20 pounds a week – let that be a red flag because, in reality, you’re probably not going to get those results,” Wetzel said.
Also beware of “free trials” for weight loss supplements that often turn into $39 or more monthly charges on your credit card.
If you’re trying to earn more money in 2023, she says to beware of employment scams in which jobs turn out to be fake.
If a job opportunity – even one listed on a legitimate job-hunting site – wants you to send money for any reason, there is a chance it is a scam.
Also, she says, watch for investment scams, where scammers promise big rewards if you invest in a project or company.
“Unfortunately,” she said, “with investment scams, you may not find out until years later that you’ve been the victim of a scam.”
Lastly, you want to avoid “phishing” scams, or fraudulent messages designed to grab your attention and get your information.
- Text messages saying that your bank account has been locked for fraud.
- Emails or calls claiming your computer has been infected and that you need to let them into your computer to fix it.
- Emails claiming you need to renew your McAfee, Norton or Geek Squad antivirus subscription.
Stephen Casper received a phishing email that claimed to be from Costco.
“It said ‘congratulations,” I have been selected for an exclusive reward,” he said.
But there was no gift, and no reward.
It was nothing but a scam.
“With phishing scams, they’re pretending to be somebody that they’re not,” Wetzel said.
Similar phishing scams claim you can get $75 in free groceries from Walmart, Aldi or other stores.
The best advice this new year is to think before you click, and question why anyone would need your personal information or access to your computer or bank account.
That way you avoid a New Year’s scam, and you don’t waste your money.