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BBB releases top 10 riskiest scams of 2019

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Mon, Mar 2nd 2020 10:45 am

By the Better Business Bureau

It's Consumer Protection Week across the country. Today, Better Business Bureau released our annual “Risk Report: New Risks and Emerging Technologies: 2019 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report” (BBB.org/RiskReport).

According to data collected from BBB's Scam Tracker, the 10 riskiest scams of 2019 were:

  • Employment
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Online purchase
  • Fake checks/money orders
  • Advance fee loans
  • Romance
  • Home improvement
  • Investment
  • Tech support
  • Travel/vacation/timeshare

Although employment scams remained the riskiest for the second year in a row, the surprise in the data was cryptocurrency in the No. 2 spot, with a median dollar loss of $3,000.

The report is based on data supplied by consumers to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/ScamTracker) and uses the BBB Risk Index, a unique algorithm that calculates exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss to offer a more accurate assessment of scam risk.

Cryptocurrency scams occur when the virtual coins are purchased from, traded by, or stored with a person or exchange site that turns out to be fraudulent. Sometimes these digital assets are purchased as part of a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO), in which investors are scammed into paying money or trading digital assets for a company or product that never materializes.

According to the Risk Report, 68.5% of people who reported a cryptocurrency scam lost money, and nearly one-third of these losses (31%) involved the cryptocurrency exchange site C2CX. Additionally, 23.4% of individuals said they purchased cryptocurrency as an investment opportunity.

Unlike money stored in a traditional bank account, which is insured against theft, digital assets such as cryptocurrency cannot be retrieved, and transactions cannot be reversed in the case of theft or cyber hacking.

For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB business profiles on nearly 5.4 million businesses and charity reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org.

The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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