BBB tallies record number of reports as scammers adopt new technologies

Posted 6/10/24

In 2023, phishing scam reports to BBB Scam TrackerSM nearly doubled...

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BBB tallies record number of reports as scammers adopt new technologies


CLEARWATER — In 2023, phishing scam reports to BBB Scam TrackerSM nearly doubled, reaching a record high of over 9,000. Scammers appear to be adopting new technology and lean on text message-based scams to reel in new targets.

Since 2021, reports to Better Business Bureau show that scammers use phishing tactics in nearly every type of scam, including government impersonation, tech support and cryptocurrency fraud. In more recent reports, they are increasingly turning to SMS-based versions of these scams, sending messages meant to trick the public into clicking on links that prompt them to share personal information or download malicious software.

In “BBB® Investigation: BBB tallies record number of reports as scammers adopt new technologies “ BBB examines patterns of reports, reviews the amount of money lost and shares stories from those caught up in the scams so the public can avoid them.

Key findings:
• Scam Tracker reports totaled over 9,000 in 2023, nearly double the previous year and a record high.
• Reports in 2024 indicate another record year is likely incoming.
• Phishing, despite being one of the oldest and most well-known scam techniques, continues to be successful, because of its adaptability to various forms of communication.
• Phishing scams target both individuals and businesses, with business losses totaling in the billions over the last three years, according to the Federal  Bureau of Investigation and supported by BBB Scam Tracker reports.
• Because phishing techniques change so often, it can be hard for the public and authorities to keep up with the ever-changing defenses needed.

Statistics (reported to BBB from 2021-2023):

• Phishing (email) - 8,346,
• Vishing (call and voicemail) – 7,416,
• Smishing (SMS) – 3,486,
• Pharming (malicious links) - 315,
• Business Email Compromise – 200.

Scam survivor stories:
Maurizio in Charlotte County, Florida said he was contacted by a company saying that his county would be proceeding with a civil suit if he did not pay debt owed for TB Bank… “there is no such debt and this was a SCAM” Maurizio said. They called him on 4 different occasions. After he told them he contacted the FBI they got nasty which was another red flag.

Andrea in St. Petersburg, Florida told BBB she kept receiving phone calls from this company from various phone numbers all over the country. She said they leave voice messages that she must contact their underwriter’s because they are attempting to complete her loan application. “I have not applied for a loan.” Andrea said. She has been receiving 25-30 calls with messages everyday for the last two weeks.

John in Maderia Beach, Florida said he received a phone call and thought he was talking with Norton tech support. He gave them control of his computer and he thought they were working on an issue. “Norton” then told John they accidently sent him $7,500 refund instead of the $75 he had requested. They then asked him to withdraw the money and mail the cash to a person named Dylan in Katy, TX. Afterward John realized the scammer took a cash advance from one of his credit cards. Unfortunately, John said he fell for this scam hook, line and sinker.

Red flags in phishing scams:

• Claims about suspicious activity or fraudulent logins,
• Reaches out about unexpected problems with an account,
• Tries to confirm financial information,
• Requests to click a link to make a payment,
• Offers government refunds,
• Sends unasked for coupons,
• Uses generic message paired with logo of a well-known company,
• Speaks in typo-filled and urgent language,
• Pretends to be a known authority figure requesting a business payment.

Visit to check out a business or register a complaint, BBB Scam TrackerSM to report a scam and ffor more on this and other scams.

BBB, Better Business Bureau, scam, phishing, scammers