COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s National Consumer Protection Week — a week focused on informing people of their rights as consumers, and how they can protect themselves against scams and thefts. 

The Better Business Bureau was created for that very purpose, and earlier this week, announced the results of its Scam Tracker Risk Report for 2021. 

“The BBB Scam Tracker is an online platform that consumers can use to report any attempted scams or successful scams that they’ve been victims of,” said Judy Dollison, President of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio. 

Dollison said 1.6 million Ohioans reported scams to that platform in 2021. The BBB then takes a closer look at those reports and creates the Scam Risk Index — a measure of exposure to scams, the likelihood of losing money to scams, and actual monetary loss. 

“These three things together can give us a better understanding of scams that are affecting our community, as well as those who may be potentially vulnerable,” said Dollison. 

The top three scams affecting our community over the last year were online purchases, cryptocurrency, and employment scams. But the BBB said 74 percent of people who reported a scam didn’t fall victim to it because they were aware of how scammers work. 

“We know that scammers can be very friendly. They act like they are on your side. They’re trying to present an opportunity to you that’s too good to pass up,” Dollison said. “If that doesn’t work, they will often resort to pressure tactics.” 

Or, Dollison said, they resort to impersonating well-known companies, or your friends to “trick you into falling for the scam.” 

But there are things you can do to protect yourself, according to the BBB

  • Never send money to someone you don’t know or haven’t met face-to-face. 
  • Don’t click on links sent to you through an unsolicited email or text message. 
  • Never share personal, identifying information with someone who has contacted you.