Top scams of 2015; what to look out for in 2016

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CROMWELL, Conn. (WTNH) You’ve been warned to be careful with your personal information and now we know why. News 8 is helping you stretch your dollar by showing you which scams cost Americans millions and what we need to be on high alert for in 2016.

From text messages to threatening phone calls, people looking to steal your money tried it all in 2015, and in many cases, were successful.

Here’s a look at what the Better Business Bureau says were the top scams in 2015.

  • Coming in at number 5 was fake government grants “sold” to consumers.
  • The next biggest was fake tech support.
  • Number 3: Fake sweepstakes asking for a small fee to collect a prize.
  • Aggressive debt collectors took the second spot.
  • The top scam of the year: people pretending to be with the IRS.

“It’s holiday season, you’ve got to expect the scams but unless I’m in the store, I’m not giving any personal information out over the phone,” said Jason Scott of Bridgeport.

Bridgeport’s Jason Scott luckily wasn’t one of them, but the Better Business Bureau reports Americans lost millions of hard-earned dollars this year.

While it’s good to know what scams are out there, it’s important to keep in mind scam artists are always changing their ways to try and trip you up. So it’s important you always keep an open mind and question anything that just doesn’t seem right.

Howard Schwartz with the better business bureau told News 8 they’re only expecting scammers to get more high-tech in 2016. He said they’re keeping a close eye on smart devices like tablets and cell phones.

“It’s only a matter of time before hackers are able to get in there and we’re spending so much time on these devices as opposed to a personal computer that we’re wide open for all types of criminal activity like that,” Schwartz said.

Keep in mind, only give information out on a phone call you initiated. If you think a call might be real, ask to call them back.

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