Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is advising consumers—and especially seniors—to get educated about “reloading” scams to avoid ending up on the “sucker list.”
Reloading scams occur when con artists repeatedly approach previous victims of fraud until they realize the scams or run out of money. These scams are extremely successful because persons who fall for scams once are much more likely to be targeted and tricked again.
Sometimes called refund scams or recovery scams, the Federal Trade Commission believes that these hoaxes are partially responsible for the estimated $1.49 billion that Americans lost to fraud in 2012.
Common reloading scams usually begin with phone calls from:
- Alleged government agencies, consumer groups or banks claiming to help recover money lost in previous scams and requiring additional funds for litigations.
- Companies that have already recovered lost funds and need bank account information for deposits.
- Lottery organizations notifying “winners” that they have qualified for additional prizes and must pay processing fees.
It is illegal to charge upfront fees for cash recovery. Consumers who believe that they may have fallen victim to a scam are encouraged to contactBBB, the FTC and local authorities. Visit BBB’s News Center for scam alerts and other local consumer news.