Friday, June 21, 2024
BBB directors in Texas alarmed over scams.

BBB directors in Texas alarmed over scams.

Consumers Face Record Number of Scams, with Texas Residents Losing $4.3 Million

Consumer scams have reached an all-time high, targeting individuals posing as employers, online merchants, and crypto/investment portfolio managers. According to the Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker, residents of Texas have reported losses of over $4.3 million this year, surpassing the combined losses from 2018-2022. This alarming trend has raised concerns among experts.

Senior Regional Director at the BBB, Jason Meza, expressed his concerns about the rising amount of money flowing into the pockets of scammers. The majority of these scams are concentrated in cities like Fort Worth and Dallas. For instance, a recent report from Fort Worth highlighted an incident where someone attempted to purchase a dog through Facebook, requesting a deposit of $150. After the payment was made, the individual asked for additional money for the dog’s vaccination but never returned the initial deposit despite reassurances of doing so. Unfortunately, reporting the incident to Zelle and the bank yielded no results.

The Better Business Bureau acknowledges that the reported numbers likely represent only a fraction of the actual scams occurring. A study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission in 2021 revealed that only about 5% of scam victims reported their cases to the BBB or other government organizations. Scams can also be reported to the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

So far this year, the largest amount of money lost has been attributed to cryptocurrency and investment scams, totaling over $1.6 million across 37 complaints. Individuals between the ages of 35 and 44 have been the most affected by these scams. Scammers often pose as traders, providing fake dashboards with fabricated results to convince consumers of the investment’s success. However, when victims attempt to withdraw their money, the scammers vanish, charging additional fees and cutting off communication.

Contact Information for Fort Worth Better Business Bureau

  • Phone number: 844-477-1099
  • Address: 306 W. Broadway Ave
  • File a complaint here

Employment scams have also seen a significant increase, rising by 250% between January and March. Scammers impersonating employers often request money or personal information, including Social Security numbers. The majority of these scams are originating from major cities like Dallas, Houston, and along the I-35 highway corridor. A red flag for these scams is when jobs require payment for interviews or request financial information to purchase work-from-home supplies.

Over the last five years, the most significant monetary losses in Texas have been attributed to crypto/investment scams, online purchase scams, and other scams involving fake checks and advance fee loans, according to the BBB.

Online purchase scams, including fake advertisements for pets, have also been on the rise, resulting in losses of nearly $707,000 across 675 reports this year. The BBB Regional Director, Amy Rasor, advises consumers to visit pets in person and read reviews of breeders or sellers to avoid falling victim to such scams. The BBB also recommends using credit cards for purchases and avoiding sellers who insist on payment through gift cards, wire transfer, or mobile banking apps, as these methods are difficult to dispute and offer scammers instant access to funds.

For more information, please contact:

Seth Bodine
Business and Economic Development Reporter
The Fort Worth Report
Email: seth.bodine@fortworthreport.org
Twitter: @sbodine120

Source

About Eamon Connor

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