Thursday, March 23Welcome

Online purchase scams still rampant: Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau reveals the top scams in western Michigan for 2022. These scams are ranked based on the number of BBB Scam Tracker entries and consumer impact.

online purchase
Online purchase fraud was the most common fraud in West Michigan. This is the second year in a row that online purchase fraud topped our region’s list. Many reported online scams started on social media. According to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, online purchase fraud is the highest risk scam for consumers. According to BBB’s recent research on online purchase fraud, 25% of consumers using the BBB Scam Tracker were reportedly targeted for fraud while browsing social media.

Scammers often target consumers on social media using product photos of legitimate businesses. When consumers click on the ad, they are directed to a fraudulent copycat site. After ordering, victims report receiving either nothing or a counterfeit item compared to what the ad promised. Most of my attempts to get a refund or to contact her store representative online have gone unanswered.

“Scammers are targeting consumers who know we’re shopping online and are casually scrolling through our social media feeds,” said the president of the Better Business Bureau in Western Michigan. CEO Lisa Frohnapfel said. “Don’t give away your hard-earned money by clicking on fraudulent sites that are misled by excessively high prices and flashy ads.”


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Pet fraud continues to be the type of online purchase scam that hits Michigans the hardest. Earlier this month, the BBB updated his 2017 in-depth study on the impact of puppy scams. You can read the update here. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office also recently warned consumers about puppy scams.

This year, a Muskegon County woman lost $6,000 because she was going to buy a new puppy. The scammer kept calling the woman asking for gift card payment until she realized she hadn’t received the puppy.

The second most dangerous scam was employment fraud. He’s been one of the most risky for consumers over the past five years.

This year, dozens of victims across the country were scammed after applying for remote jobs using a fake package forwarding service. This company used a Cadillac, Michigan address, so it looked legit. Victims were contacted by scammers and offered jobs without an interview or direct contact. Victims shared their social security numbers and banking information for background checks and direct payment setup. After weeks of work, no one was paid and all communication with employers was cut off.

Fake employers often target resumes on job search sites by pretending to be a real company they know well. These employers pay for training and equipment for new hires and can even promise reimbursement.

Phishing was the third most dangerous scam. Scammers use email, phone calls, or text her messages to trick users into providing personal and financial information. In many cases, the message appears to be from a company you know and trust. The message prompts you to click a link, share information, call a phone number, or download an attachment that may contain malware. For emails and texts, the link often leads to a form, prompting the target to enter personal information.

Tips to avoid online purchases and pet scams:

Please research before purchasing. Always research a business before buying, especially if you are not familiar with the company. Check out Read consumer reviews on other of his websites and do a quick online search of the business name along with the word “fraud” to filter out any suspicious activity found by other consumers.
Beware of social media scams. Scammers love to use social media to advertise their scams. Some of the red flags include deals that seem too good to be true, fake personalized products, fake coupons, and product links leading to questionable websites. Reverse image search for photos attached to ads.
Purchase only on secure sites. Make sure your website has “https” in its URL (the extra s means “secure”) and a little lock icon in the address bar. Still, the site can be shaded.
Please use a credit card. Credit cards often have better fraud protection than other payment methods.
See your pet in person before paying.
Tips to avoid employment fraud:

Check the job posting to make sure the email address matches the actual company. Call or go directly to his website at the actual company for contact information to check for vacancies. Be careful with your Gmail business email address.
Be aware that telecommuting that involves picking up and reshipping packages can be a scam.
Be wary of jobs that don’t require an interview. Reputable companies like to talk to top candidates before hiring them.
Vague job descriptions and spending a lot of money on small tasks are red flags. These over-the-top offers often attempt to steal personal information from bogus job applications.
Be careful when putting personal information such as full address, date of birth and financial information on your resume or providing it to unverified recruiters or online applications.
Tips to avoid phishing scams:

Call the company directly or check the company website directly. Do not click on unexpected email links. Enter your company’s URL into your browser or do a web search to find the appropriate website.
Do not click, download, or open anything sent by anonymous senders. This could be an attempt to access your personal information or install malware on your computer.
Ask a general email. Scammers cast wide nets by including little or no specific information in their bogus emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages that do not contain your name, last digits of your account number, or other personal information.
Protect your computer with security software. Set your software to update automatically to keep up with new security threats.
Where to report fraud:

Better Business Bureau – BBB Scam Tracker
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – File a complaint online at or call 877-FTC-Help.
Credit card issuers – If you shared your credit card number, report an incident even if the transaction hasn’t been completed. Please check your statement and request a refund if you suspect fraud.

Submitted by the Western Michigan Better Business Bureau

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