Last year the North Carolina Department of Justice Consumer Protection Division received more than 21,000 complaints. Many of them were over scams.  

According to the Better Business Bureau of Central and Northwest North Carolina, the three most reported scams in the Triad for 2023 include online purchases, topping the list with 255 reports and losses of approximately $150,000. Consumers ordered products that never appeared, arrived as counterfeit or were completely different than what was expected. 

Nearly 100 employment scams led to about $70,000 lost with fake job advertisers on the web reaching out to those who have posted resumes on job boards. Some promise employment and ask would-be workers to send money for job equipment.  

And phishing scams used emails, texts, and phones to gather personal details like credit card numbers for use in identity theft. They often begin with clicks on links that download malware or ask for personal information.

Winston-Salem Police Sergeant Joshua Caffey works in the criminal investigations division’s financial crimes unit. He says telephone scams are also a concern.

“The individual is going to contact you first,” says Caffey. “You just never know who you’re going to be talking to on the other end of the phone. They’re going to dangle different kinds of bait in front of you to get you to send them money in the end. They’re also going to be looking for your personal information. And for you to wire money, send money through gift cards, put money in bitcoin machines.”

Caffey recommends caution when dealing with any suspicious calls or online requests. He says when money is given away voluntarily to scammers, often those funds are not recoverable, and banks will not reimburse.

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