What were the top scams of 2016?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — This was a big year for scammers, especially before September, when Indian police busted an entire call center dedicated to the well known “IRS Scam.”

What’s on the horizon for 2017, however, might have already shown itself this year, according to the Better Business Bureau.

The agency released this week a list of the top 10 scams of 2016. The infamous IRS and other tax scams made up more than a quarter of the profitable capers.

“They threaten people, which is always scary, you get nervous, ‘Oh, my God I have to pay them,'” said Melanie McGovern, communications director of the Better Business Bureau’s upstate branch. “And then your brain isn’t always working in that rational way. So that’s what scammers are hoping for when they call people.”

McGovern said the agency has a new tool to track the most profitable scams, those that netted the most victims.

“This is the first year that we have a really accurate depiction of where the scams are, and what they are and who the victims are,” she said.

In addition to tax scams, debt collections, sweepstakes games or lotteries and those targeted at online shoppers accounted for the most victims.

But McGovern said the stereotypical victim is changing. The agency is seeing a younger generation of victims, who are more comfortable and trusting with technology.

“We’re seeing more millennial victims of scams because they’re on their phones, because they’re not really paying attention when they’re buying online,” she said.

The Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker keeps tabs on the type of scam and the type and location of the victim. There’s also more information about the top scams of 2016, and what to look for in 2017.

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