Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Jeremy Johnson, Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — A new report says Idahoans lost over $600,000 in lottery type scams in 2017.
“What we’re seeing is the scam is, ‘Hey, you’ve won all this money, but to get it, you’ve got pay the taxes on it,” or, ‘For us to get it to you, we’re going need you to wire us some money so we know what account put it into,’ you know, a variety of these things,” Jeremy Johnson, Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau, told KID NewsRadio.
Johnson said the 110 scams reported in 2017 are likely not all of the instances of lottery type fraud in the past year. Victims of scams, Johnson said, often feel too embarrassed to report the scam likely making the latest number under reported.
“A lot of people don’t report and that’s one thing we here at the BBB really try to encourage, if this happened to you, don’t be embarrassed step forward and let people know what happened to you because you could prevent someone else from being in the same situation,” Johnson said. “That’s why we encourage people to go to our BBB scam tracker and fill out a report of what happened and where it happened and how much they lost and then it also give us a chance to see what’s going on, so we can do things…to warn people.”
Among some of the most vulnerable populations are the elderly because scammers know they tend to have more money to lose. But, Johnson added, scams are no respecter of age or even form of contact as scammers target landlines, text messages and cell phones to try their con.
“If someone says you won something, but you have to pay for it or…pay taxes on it, that’s definitely a red flag that you should…just hang up,” Johnson said.
Anyone interested about recent scams or who wants to report a scam can visit the Better Business Bureau’s website and view their scam tracker. Additionally, the best way to avoid becoming a victim, Johnson said, is to apply a healthy dose of skepticism to calls and offers that seem too good to be true.
“You just have to be really skeptical when people are calling,” Johnson said. “One of the biggest things is if you didn’t sign up for anything or you didn’t enter a drawing, you most likely have not won anything.”