A report has found that Tennessee ranks among the top 10 states for fraud complaints.
Tennessee residents reported that they lost $10.9 million in 2016 to scams and frauds, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network‘s annual data report.
The same report ranked Tennessee as No. 9 nationally for fraud complaints in the country.
The Consumer Sentinel Network is an investigative tool of the Federal Trade Commission that tracks complaints about various scams.
The top scams hitting Tennesseans include debt collection fraud, imposter scams, telephone and mobile services, prizes and banks.
The top identity theft scams include credit card fraud, phone or utilities fraud and tax related fraud.
A Murfreesboro woman became the victim of an IRS fraud just this week.
Judy, who did not want to use her last name for privacy, found out someone stole her identity and filed her income taxes.
“At first I thought I made a typo when submitting our return,” she said. “But the IRS confirmed to me just yesterday that someone used me and my husband’s social security numbers to file a tax return.”
The Better Business Bureau said Tennessee’s high ranking for complaints signals something positive – that victims are coming forward to report fraud.
“Years ago people were so embarrassed to report being defrauded,” BBB CEO Kathleen Calligan said. “Now, more people come forward, which helps us track these scams.”
Calligan said Nashville is such a popular destination and so high-profile internationally that scammers not only target people in Music City, but also use the city as bait for victims.
“We have a scam tracker so we have a lot of complaints being reported that wouldn’t ordinarily be reported,” Calligan said. “So I think that makes the numbers higher.”
Calligan reminds consumers to be careful whenever making a purchase online or responding to an ad.
“There are so many fake URLs out there and they look real,” she said. “These imposters will even pretend to be reputable businesses. It has happened to the Better Business Bureau before.”
A good rule, according to the BBB, is to always research a company and person before agreeing to do business.
This time of year IRS scams, storm damage clean up and vacation rental scams increase.
“Fake rentals and fake everything will be out there,” Calligan said. “You have to do a little extra work, but boy is it worth it.”
You can track scam alerts through the BBB with its Scam Tracker.
Judy and her husband filed their tax return on paper and through the mail.
Because she attempted to file her taxes early, the scammers did not receive the refund they were expecting to collect.
They now have credit monitoring attached to their social security numbers in case there is more fraudulent activity.
Courtesy of WKRN News 2