Don’t Let Your Gains Be Drained
Employment scams climbed to the second-riskiest in 2022, according to a new Better Business Bureau (BBB) report, while online purchase scams remained the riskiest scam type.
Employment scams rose from third-riskiest in 2021 to second-riskiest in 2022, according to a new report from the Better Business Bureau. Employment-scam reports submitted to BBB Scam Tracker rose 23.1% from 2021 to 2022. People also lost more money to this scam type in 2022, up 66.7% from 2021 ($900) to 2022 ($1,500). The median dollar loss for employment scams ($1,500) was significantly higher than that of $171 for all scam types.
Online purchase (shopping) scams remained the riskiest scam type in 2022. Online purchase scams comprised 31.9% of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2022, with 74.0% of people reporting that they lost money.
Cryptocurrency scams dropped in 2022 from second- to third-riskiest due to a drop in reported scams, susceptibility (the percentage of those who lose money when exposed to a scam), and median dollar loss.
“Employment scams, which peaked at #1 on our list in 2019, are seeing a resurgence,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, which produced the 2022 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. “This is a high-touch scam in which perpetrators spend more time with their targets in the hope of stealing more money from each target. Employment scams tied for the highest median dollar loss of all scam types. Home-improvement scams, #4 on our list of riskiest scams, also had a median dollar loss of $1,500.”
More people reported losing money when targeted by websites, social media, and email than other contact methods. Those who were targeted in person reported losing the most significant amount of money ($715), followed by text messages ($579) and phone ($550). Scams perpetrated by text messages increased by 39.6%, from 9.1% in 2021 to 12.7% in 2022.
Scams perpetrated online were more likely to result in a monetary loss than scams targeted via phone or in person. Credit cards remained the most reported payment method with a monetary loss, followed by online payment systems. The payment methods with the highest median dollar loss were wire transfer ($2,700), check ($1,277), and cryptocurrency ($1,135).
The riskiest scam type varied among age groups, with employment scams landing as the riskiest for ages 18 to 34. Online purchase scams were again the riskiest for ages 35 to 64. Home-improvement scams were the riskiest for ages 65 and up.
Military consumers (active-duty military, spouses, and veterans) reported significantly higher median financial losses ($238) than non-military consumers ($163). Active-duty military reported losing significantly more money ($490) than military spouses ($248) and veterans ($200).
The five most impersonated organizations reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2022 were Amazon, Geek Squad, Publishers Clearing House, the U.S. Postal Service, and Norton.
BBB Scam Tracker is an online platform that enables consumers and businesses to report attempted and successful acts of fraud. The platform also enables people to search the scam reports to help determine if a scam is targeting them. The platform was upgraded in 2022 with support from Amazon and Capital One.