BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report: Text Message Scams Spiked by 40% in 2022


Employment scams rose from third riskiest to second riskiest in 2022, while online purchase scams remained at #1, according to a new BBB report. Employment scam reports submitted to BBB’s Scam Tracker rose 23.1% from 2021 to 2022. Monetary losses also increased in 2022 ($1,500), up 66.7% from 2021 ($900). The median dollar loss for employment scams ($1,500) was significantly higher than the median loss for all scam types ($171).

Online purchase scams comprised 31.9% of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2022, with 74.0% reporting money loss while online scams dropped in 2022 from second to third riskiest due to a decrease in reports, susceptibility and median dollar loss.

“Employment scams, which peaked at #1 on our list in 2019, are seeing a resurgence,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, which produced the 2022 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report.

“This is a high-touch scam in which perpetrators spend more time with their targets in the hope of stealing more money from each target. Employment scams tied for the highest median dollar loss of all scam types. Home improvement scams, #4 on our list of riskiest scams, also had a median dollar loss of $1,500.”

More people reported losing money when targeted by websites, social media and email, than other contact methods. Those who were targeted in person reported losing the most significant amount of money ($715), followed by text messages ($579) and over-the-phone ($550). Scams perpetrated by text messages increased by 39.6%, up from 9.1% in 2021 to 12.7% in 2022.

Scams perpetrated online were more likely to result in a monetary loss than scams targeted via phone or in-person. Credit cards remained the most reported payment method with a monetary loss, followed by online payment systems. The payment methods with the highest median dollar loss were wire transfer ($2,700), check ($1,277) and cryptocurrency ($1,135).

As the riskiest scam type varied among age groups, employment scams landed as the #1 riskiest for ages 18 to 34. On the opposite side of the spectrum, online purchase scams were again the #1 riskiest for ages 35 to 64, while home improvement scams were the #1 riskiest for ages 65+.

Military consumers including active-duty military, spouses and veterans, reported significantly higher median financial losses ($238) than non-military consumers ($163). Active-duty military reported losing significantly more money ($490) than military spouses ($248) and veterans ($200).

The five most impersonated organizations reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2022 were Amazon, Geek Squad, Publishers Clearing House, the U.S. Postal Service and Norton. A list of the top 15 is provided in the report.

For more information regarding 2022’s BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, visit To report a scam, visit and to stay keen on all things risky scams, visit or visit our news feed.

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