These are the Top 10 scams reported in Houston


HOUSTON – There were more than 1,200 scams reported across the greater Houston area in 2017, according to the  Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston.

Here's a look at the top 10 reported scams and how not to be a victim:

Phishing scams

This scam is attempted through call from an unknown phone number or email trying to obtain your personal or financial information.  In 2017, BBB of Houston received multiple reports of the "Can You Hear Me?" phone scam, where the caller is made to answer “yes” to the question.  If you answer yes, there is a possibility the scammer recorded you and will use your “agreement” to sign you up for a product or service you never agreed to.

Online Purchase scams

This Scam happens when you pay online for something that you never receive. While most websites are legit, scammers will often make their own website in order mimic or copy the real website to trick you. In 2017, BBB of Houston received an influx of reports on online puppy scams, where consumers paid money for pets they never received.

Employment scams

Scammers pursue this by saying there is a job opening or guarantee employment if you first pay a fee to put you there; however, after you pay, there is no actual job.

Tax Collection scams

This scam is typically attempted by phone call and the caller claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Treasury Department saying you owe money to the government, and if you don’t pay you will be arrested. Scammers threaten you to send money via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, and some people pay out of fear. 

Tech Support scams

Usually this happens by phone call or a pop-up ad on your computer claiming to be from Microsoft (or Norton, or Apple) about a problem on your computer.  The scammer will then ask for “tech support” access to your hard drive so they can fix it. Instead, they install malware on your computer and start stealing your personal information.

Fake Check/Money Order scams

This scam can happen through the mail or by phone call. You receive a check that has an outrageous amount of money than the amount of money owed and are asked to deposit the check and wire the difference; however, the check is fake, and when it bounces, you are the one out of the money.

Government Grant scams

This scam can happen by call, email or letter claiming you are eligible for a government grant. In order to receive this grant, you must first send money usually wire transfer or pre-paid debit card.

Debt Collection scams

This scam happens usually through phone call from someone claiming that you have a debt that is unpaid. The scammer with threaten you with wage garnishments (deducting money from your salary), lawsuits and even prison if you don’t pay immediately. The scammer will often use Caller ID spoofing and pretend to be a government agency or law enforcement as a scare tactic.

Advance Fee Loan scams

With being the fastest way to get cash, the scammer will charge an “upfront” fee guaranteeing you the cash right away no matter your credit history.

Sweepstakes/Lottery/Prize scams

This usually happens from phone call or email claiming you have won money from the Lottery and or a sweepstakes, usually one you have never heard of or entered. How scammers archive this is by asking for money to cover a processing fee.

Information from the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas

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Click here to read about 10 steps to avoid a scam.