BBB releases list of top 5 scams in Washington in 2015

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Criminals posing as IRS agents call top tax-crime fighters, demanding money.

DUPONT, Wash. — The Better Business Bureau has tallied the top scams of 2015 in Washington state.

“Scammers are elusive,” said Tyler Andrew, President and CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “With Scam Tracker, consumers and law enforcement can track fraud in real time and report it so that no one else falls victim.”

Here are the top 5 scams hitting Washington:

  1. IRS Scam. Consumers receive threatening phone calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The caller tells the consumer he owes taxes to the government and will be thrown in jail unless he pays. The IRS says they never call people who owe money; instead, they notify debtors via mail.
  2. Debt Collections. Fake collection agencies call and claim consumers owe credit card debt. They try to gather personal information such as Social Security and bank account numbers.
  3. Imposter Scam. Like the IRS scam, fraudsters pose as a federal agent or law enforcement and then contact unsuspecting consumers to try and obtain their personal information. If the scammers succeed, they’re able to steal identities and commit fraud.
  4. Government Grant. Bogus government staffers call to inform consumers they have qualified for a grant, but processing fees must be paid in advance via wire transfer to receive the funds.
  5. Tech support. Scammers tell consumers their computers have been hacked and they need to gain access in order to fix it. The scammers end up downloading malware or stealing personal information.

Nationwide, the IRS scam also topped the list. Phony debt collectors, sweepstakes, tech support and the government grant scam rounded off the top five. For a complete list, visit BBB’s Top Ten Scams of 2015.

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