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BBB says online purchasing scams top Minnesota, North Dakota list

BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Online purchasing scams, mostly involving a buyer never receiving the goods, received the most reports of fraudulent behavior last year to the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.

The BBB’s Scam Tracker, which allows users to report or see scams reported in their city, showed that employment scams were the nation’s top issue.

More than 900 reports of online purchasing scams were reported in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2018, the BBB said. Phishing and employment scams were the next two issues that were most reported in the two states.

Most of the online purchasing scams involved automobiles, pets, tickets, clothing and cosmetics, the BBB said. These items are often found for sale on online sites, such as Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and other direct seller-to-buyer sites.

On its website, the BBB says sellers can also be ripped off when a buyer may overpay for an item and asks for the difference to be returned by some untraceable method such as a wire transfer. The payment turns out to be fake and you’re out the money.

The remainder of the top 10 scam list for Minnesota and North Dakota are: credit card scams, social security and tax/IRS collection schemes, tech support scams, debt collection scams, fake check/money orders, counterfeit products and fake invoices.

Across the U.S. and Canada, more than 50,000 employment scams were reported in 2018, one-third of the overall 150,000 reports of fraudulent activity reported to the Scam Tracker since its 2015 launch.

Following employment scams, the remainder of the U.S. and Canada list includes: online purchases, fake checks/money orders, home improvement scams, advanced fee loans, romance scams, tech support scams, investment scams, travel/vacation scams and government grant scams.

The BBB says its staffers review all submissions to the site in order to watch for patterns of a problem and ensure the submissions are authentic. Reports that involve legitimate businesses are converted to complaints.

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