21Investigates: Scam Tracker — Avoiding online scams

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 5:05 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Online scams are so common and the reason why is probably no surprise, since we all have easy access to the internet.

The FBI says last year, Americans lost more than $10 billion dollars because of online scams. It’s a problem the president of the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana says shows no signs of slowing down

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” BBB Northern Indiana President Rick Walz said.

Still, Walz says falling victim to an online scam is common. Statistics from the BBB say 30% of all scams happen online. The highest number of scams happens to people between 18 and 24 years old.

With the convince of online shopping, scammers might try to target you.

If they appear in your email, there are two big signs to look for. Scammers may use popular brands and change their logos slightly, to where it’s hard to spot. Also, the email address may have random characters like apostrophes and periods.

“If you have the name of a company you’re not familiar with, do a google search by putting the name of the company -- along with the word ‘scam’ or the word ‘review,’” Walz said. “If there are scams out there being reported, then you will see them pop up.”

Also, Walz says avoid making quick purchases and don’t click on unfamiliar links. You could be giving away personal information.

If you get scammed, here are some resources:

Do you have a scam you want us to look into? Reach out to 21Alive’s Tylor Brummett. You can send a message on Facebook or send an email to tylor.brummett@gray.tv.