3 On Your Side

BBB warns of top scams

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Andre Wyche fell victim to the sweepstakes scam. (Source: 3TV) Andre Wyche fell victim to the sweepstakes scam. (Source: 3TV)
More than one person has fallen for the Facebook lottery scam. (Source: 3TV) More than one person has fallen for the Facebook lottery scam. (Source: 3TV)
Chandler Markham lost nearly $2,000 to the job scam. (Source: 3TV) Chandler Markham lost nearly $2,000 to the job scam. (Source: 3TV)
Scammers almost always want you to send money via a wire transfer or a prepaid money card. (Source: 3TV) Scammers almost always want you to send money via a wire transfer or a prepaid money card. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

From the Publishers Clearing House scam to the Facebook lottery scam, crooks are pulling no punches in swindling you out of your hard-earned cash. 

"They're sounding more and more convincing every day," Felicia Thompson of the Phoenix Better Business Bureau said.

The Phoenix BBB just released the top scams reported to it last month. 

Sweepstakes scams, for example, are huge. Andre Wyche knows that all too well.

[RELATED: Young couple loses $1,800 in sweepstakes scam]

"It's during the holiday season, and he's just like, 'Oh my God, this is going to be great for you; it's going to change your life,' and ...," he said, emotional over the situation in which he found himself. 

Another hoax that made the list is the so-called "job scam," which has been exposed before in a 3 On Your Side report. 

In that report we told you how Chandler Markham became a victim when she was looking on Craigslist for a job as a nanny. The scammer who hired Markham sent her fraudulent paychecks up front totaling $2,000, and then convinced her to wire $1,800 back. By the time her bank discovered the checks were fake Markham had already sent the money.

Another scheme that made the list is the "grant scam", which has also been exposed by 3 On Your Side. 

Judy Kay Burfield was victimized by the scam when she got a phone call claiming she was entitled to a free $5,000 government grant. She was talked into sending nearly $1,000 to the scammer in order to get that grant before discovering there was no grant.

Another scam making the BBB's list is the IRS impostor scam. 

Ramona Bellah lost nearly $2,000 to scammers using this method. 

"Honestly I felt like I had a gun to my head." Thompson said. 

"We're hearing a lot about the IRS impostor scam," Thompson said. "It's by far the number one scam reported to the BBB."

[RELATED: IRS agents can't seem to stop phone scammers]

[RELATED: Arizona attorney general issues warning about IRS phone scam]

This old scam is still going strong. Crooks claiming to be IRS agents call and threaten victims with arrest if they don't pay back taxes, taxes they really don't owe at all. This scheme has cost victims an estimated $20 million.

With all of these scams, Thompson says there is one common thread. Crooks want money sent by wire transfers or by getting you to load money on to prepaid cards

[RELATED: New twist to old online scam

"There are some common factors around these scams," she explained. "Not only is it about sending them money immediately, but also the way you send money. They want it to be a wire transfer. If you send that money via wire transfer to somebody you don't know and that you really shouldn't be trusting, you're not going to see that money anymore."

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself? Never send money via wire transfer or prepaid money card to somebody you do not know personally.

[RELATED: BBB launches new 'scam tracker' website]

Copyright 2015 3TV (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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