3OYS: Top scams of 2014 revealed

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The Better Business Bureau has released its top 10 scams of 2014, and every scam that made the list has been exposed before by 3 On Your Side.

" 'God has sent this to you. I am a messenger of God and I am bringing this gift to you.' Someone saying that, just, it really rips your heart out," said Andre Wyche.

He and Kera England lost nearly $2,000 in a so-called sweepstakes scam. And that little scheme comes in at No. 10 of the Better Business Bureau's top scams of 2014.

Coming in ninth place: the click and bait scam. That's where crooks try to get consumers to click on fake images and news links, and they end up downloading malware.

No. 8 on the list has been around for a while. "Robocalls are pre-recorded messages left on your landline or cellphone from, generally, someone who's trying to sell you a product or service like a company," Felicia Thompson with the Better Business Bureau explained.

Those robocalls usually claim to be able to lower credit card interest rates by taking personal information only to add fees to your card.

No. 7: fake government grants. You may recall a previous 3 On Your Side report where a Valley woman lost money because she thought she was applying for help paying for some secondary education, but she was duped. There was no government grant.

The No. 6 biggest scam of last year: the grandparent scam.

"Whoever this was, was acting like they were my daughter, kind of like crying, just kind of that sob story, 'I need help, I need help, I need money, can you send it?' "

Nakisha Anthony almost fell for the scam where someone called asking for money, pretending to be a family member in desperate trouble.

Other top scams include the medical alert scam at No. 5, the copycat website scam at No. 4, and the "Are you calling yourself?" scam at No. 3. This where your phone number pops up on your caller ID and you wind up talking to a scammer who talks himself into your wallet.

The BBB's second ranked scheme has certainly mushroomed over the years: Tech support scams.

"First thing he said he was from Microsoft and that my computer was infected with a lot of viruses."

Ron Schnell got a call from a man saying his computer had a virus, but that he could clean it up if Schnell gave that man remote access to his computer. Fortunately, Schnell didn't fall for it, but if he had, the crook could have installed malware and stole Schnell's personal information stored on the computer.

And the top BBB scam of 2014 is the arrest scam.

"He says, 'You need to get in your car now. Go to your bank and withdraw the money, and then follow directions. Do not hang up the phone.' "

Ramona Bellah was swindled out nearly $2,000 when a conman claiming to be with the IRS called, saying she would be arrested if she didn't immediately wire money for back taxes she never really owed.

Just remember, never wire money to someone you don't know and don't feel pressured into making quick decisions on the phone. Follow those two rules and you'll be less likely to be scammed.

For additional information about the BBB's top 10 scams list for 2014, click here.