BBB lists top 10 scams of 2016



ARLINGTON, Va.—Reports to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker last year confirmed that tax scams are still the top scam, despite a huge drop in reports after a September police raid in Mumbai, India.

The list was compiled based on more than 30,000 scam reports filed by consumers on, a free interactive online tool launched last year by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust. Not all of those consumers lost money, as many recognized the scam before being victimized, but they reported it anyway to help warn others.

The top three scams on the 2016 list were the same as the previous year: Tax scams, debt collection scams and sweepstakes/prizes/gifts scams. New to the top 10 are online purchase scams and phishing scams. Online purchase scams were common in 2015 as well, but this scam type was not added as a BBB Scam Tracker category until 2016.

Employment scams are also new to the top 10, but only because work-from-home scams, previously a separate category, were included. Another change was the drop of tech support scams from No. 4 last year to No. 7 this year.

The top 10 scams for 2016 were:

  1. Tax scams (IRS and CRA), with 7,530 reports, accounting for 25 percent of scams reported
  2. Debt collections, with 2,456 reports, accounting for 8.2 percent of scams reported
  3. Sweepstakes/prizes/gifts, with 2,102 reports, accounting for 7.0 percent of scams reported
  4. Online purchase, with 1,891 reports, accounting for 6.3 percent of scams reported
  5. Employment, with 1,773 reports, accounting for 5.9 percent of scams reported
  6. Government grant, with 1,453 reports, accounting for 4.8 percent of scams reported
  7. Tech support, with 1,382 reports, accounting for 4.6 percent of scams reported
  8. Advance fee loan, with 965 reports, accounting for 3.2 percent of scams reported
  9. Fake check/money order, with 872 reports, accounting for 2.9 percent of scams reported
  10. Phishing, with 776 reports, accounting for 2.6 percent of scams reported

The BBB encourages consumers to learn how to recognize scams and to avoid them with tips at