CHICAGO — Online purchase scams skyrocketed to the top of Better Business Bureau of Chicago's Top 10 Scams of 2018.
The BBB says 1.4 million websites are created every month, mostly overseas, by con artists looking to steal from you. Criminals replace some of these websites every few hours in order to avoid detection. The most common online purchase scams are for products related to pets, clothing, cosmetics, electronics or automobiles.
Steve Bernas of the BBB says to be particularly careful of free and limited-time offers.
"If they ask you to pay in 30 minutes there’s some urgency to it whether they claim the IRS is going to throw you in jail or you’re going to be deported only thing is she doing 30 minutes is pay for a pizza and that’s it," Bernas said.
Here are BBB's top 10 scams of 2018:
- Online Purchase – Fake websites
- Employment – Job offer scams
- Debt Collections – Invoices, calls or emails for fake debts
- Tech Support – Calls, texts or emails from fake tech support agents
- Tax Collection – Fake IRS or Treasury Dept. calls/emails
- Utility – Fake calls/emails claiming your service will be shut off unless you pay
- Fake Check/Money Order – Scammers send a fake check and convince recipients to send fees or the balance of an “overpayment” back
- Counterfeit Product – Often tied in with scam websites – consumers are sent cheap counterfeit items worth a fraction of the real item
- Phishing – A series of fake spoofed emails requesting money or personal information
- Advance Fee Loan – The promise of a “loan” – after you pay fees