The Top 10 Financial Scams of 2017

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Unfortunately everyone falls victim to some sort of scam in the course of their life. Some of us fall for them more often than others. It is this latter part of the consumer marketplace that unscrupulous con artists depend on for their criminal endeavors.

Every year the Better Business Bureau tracks current trends in scams and issues a report so consumers can educate themselves on what to be aware of, and how to be less likely to fall victim to one of them. This report is created by analyzing information on scams reported by consumers. The 2017 report is based on information from 47,000 consumer scam reports. This information is vital to make us smarter, and safer participants in the global marketplace.

List of the top 10 scams of 2017 as reported by the Better Business Bureau.

The list also includes how the scams ranking changed from the 2016 report on consumer scams.

1. Online Purchase Scam (up from 4th in 2016)

2. Investment Scam (up from 6th in 2016)

3. Employment Scam (no change from 2016)

4. Advance Fee Loan Scam (up from 5th in 2016)

5. Fake Check Scam (down from 2nd in 2016)

6. Home Improvement Scam (down from 1st in 2016)

7. Tech Support Scam (up from 8th in 2016)

8. Travel/Vacation Scam (up from 12th in 2016)

9. Family/Friend Emergency Scam (no change from 2016)

10. Government Grant Scam (up from 11th in 2016)

In 2017 two scams joined the top 10 ranks while two dropped from the list. Travel and vacation scams, and government grant scams both broke into the top riskiest scams bracket, while romance scams, and sweepstakes/lottery/prize scams, though still definitely risky, and prevalent, dropped from the top 10 bracket.

Nearly all of the scams in the top 10 exploit financial concerns and economic uncertainty that is prevalent in most people’s minds today. Collectively, most of us are concerned about how far our paycheck, or our retirement is going to stretch as cost of living outpaces our income in terms of growth. It is this underlying fear, and uncertainty in all of our minds that these scammers depend on for their business, crooked as it may be, to flourish.

Fear can lead us, as consumers, to take unnecessary risks, on things that on a subconscious but rational level, we know are too good to be true, but we fall for it, because of the fear of missing out on a deal that is the only way we can afford something, or a deal that makes something obtainable - but a stretch, feel less frivolous and less potentially financially harmful.

The Better Business Bureau study shows that as we age, we get smarter about scams, but the amount of money lost is greater, albeit in lower consumer numbers. The young, 18 to 24, are most susceptible to falling for consumer scams, but typically lose the least amount of money. Ultimately, regardless of our age, it is important that we are educated on the prevalent scams in the marketplace and that we are always number one looking out for our own financial well being.

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