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Home » Study Reveals the Most Common Scams in Oregon

Study Reveals the Most Common Scams in Oregon

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  • 9 min read
What are the most common scams in Oregon?

In 2023, Oregonians lost nearly 98 million to fraud. That may seem like a lot, but according to a Consumer Sentinel Network report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the news isn’t all bad. Oregon only ranked 22nd on the list of the states most affected by financial scams. Nationwide, we lost over 10 billion to scams. The states with the highest (per capita) rate of reported fraud were Georgia, Florida, Nevada, Delaware, and Maryland.  

Scammers are constantly devising new tricks to separate people from their hard-earned money, but in Oregon, imposter scams top the list. So, we’ve got some tips on how to recognize (and avoid) imposter scams and the nine other most common scams in Oregon. 

Here are the top 10 scams in Oregon to watch out for:

1. Imposter Scams (23%)

Imposter scams involve individuals impersonating someone else, such as a government official, financial institution, tech support representative, or family member, to deceive victims into providing personal information or sending money. These scammers often use tactics like fear, urgency, or sympathy to manipulate their targets. Imposter scams can occur over the phone, via email, through social media, or even in person. To avoid getting scammed, verify the identity of anyone requesting personal or financial information. Be cautious of unsolicited communication, especially if it involves urgent requests for money or sensitive information. If you suspect an imposter scam, report it to the appropriate authorities and your financial institution. This will help shield you from future loss and protect others from falling victim to the same deceptive schemes.

2. Identity Theft (15%)

Identity theft is on the rise—particularly with credit cards. In fact, Oregon ranks 26th in the nation for the most identity theft reports per capita. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information (such as your Social Security number or credit card details), to commit fraud or other crimes. To protect yourself, never give out your personal data online, over the phone, or in a text message. Regularly monitor your credit union, bank, and credit card accounts for any unauthorized activity. If you notice suspicious charges (or even deposits), report them immediately.

3. Online Shopping and Negative Reviews (9%)

We’re all familiar with online shopping scams involving fake or sketchy retailers—and it’s not just older people falling victim to the crimes. According to the FTC, Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Zers are 86% more likely to report losing money to online shopping scams than older adults. Regrettably, customer review fraud has also spiked in the past few years. Customer review fraud comes in many forms but most commonly involves either suppressing negative reviews or using paid/incentivized reviews and not disclosing them.

Recently, regulatory bodies have also fined businesses for engaging in Review Reuse Fraud, where they hijack or repurpose reviews posted about another product or service. However—even if you don’t shop online—you should be on guard for Brushing Scams. A brushing scam starts with an unexpected package containing items you never ordered. It may appear to be a victimless crime—after all, you did get some free stuff—but realistically, your personal information may be compromised. If this happens, change your account passwords, and closely monitor your credit report and accounts. You can keep the merchandise, throw it away, or mark the unopened package “Return to Sender” but do not be swindled into paying for it.

4. Banks and Lenders (6%)

Bank and lender scams in Oregon typically involve deceptive or predatory mortgage lending practices or sketchy personal loan scams (like payday loans, 401(K) loans, title loans, and no-credit-check loans). Sadly, personal loan scams most frequently exploit those most in need of financial assistance. Scammers entice hopeful borrowers to hand over personal information or pay upfront fees with promises of quick access to loans the borrowers may otherwise be denied. Other prevalent lending scams to watch out for include fake and abusive debt collectors, business loan scams, and student loan debt relief scams. When in doubt, take the time to verify that you’re dealing with a legitimate business. And above all, remember that when an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

5. Prizes, Sweepstakes, and Lotteries (5%)

If you receive a message claiming you’ve won a lottery or prize, watch out—especially if you are asked to pay an upfront fee. It is most likely a scam. Remember that legitimate lotteries and sweepstakes won’t require winners to pay anything to receive prizes—including taxes, shipping, and processing fees. If you must pay taxes on lottery or prize winnings, the IRS will calculate those taxes as taxable income. The prize company will not handle payment for such debt. Also, there is absolutely no reason to give your account or credit card information to claim a prize or sweepstakes. If they ask for this information, hang up. It’s a scam.

6. Credit Bureaus, Information Furnishers, and Report Users (3%)

Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) or credit data “furnishers” collect credit account information about our borrowing and repayment history. That data is used to set industry standards for reporting and scoring methodologies. The data also determines how much credit you can get, your borrowing terms, and what insurance rates you qualify for. It may even influence whether or not you get a job or an apartment. The FTC regulates these agencies, and they must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Unfortunately, credit reporting and furnisher scams are fairly common. So, be on the lookout for fake websites that offer “free credit reports” or pose as credit repair agencies that charge an upfront fee. Before you offer personal or financial information to a CRA or furnisher, make sure you are dealing with a reputable company (like Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax). And keep in mind, it is illegal under the Credit Repair Organizations Act to charge for such services.  

7. Auto-Related Scams (3%)

Auto-related scams in Oregon involve misleading or deceptive claims about car prices, financing, leasing, shipping, or warranties. These ploys may also extend to repair and maintenance costs—or even price gouging at gas stations and oil companies. Sadly, auto scams cost consumers billions each year. If you are buying a car, you are particularly vulnerable. There are countless car scams to be wary of—including fake car ads,  VIN cloning, overpayment scams, and car shipping scams (to name a few).

Scammers also target people who sell their cars online. In one common scam, they ask to see a vehicle history report and then direct the seller to a website that charges a fee for the report. These sites are often a ruse to get personal information and money. The FTC speculates that (at the very least) these sites could also be “lead generators” to collect advertising and marketing information for interested third parties.

8. Internet Services (3%)

The cost of internet and streaming services has skyrocketed in the last few years. So it’s no surprise consumers are curious about offers for significant discounts. If you get a call, text, or email offering a lower monthly bill on your internet, TV, or cable in exchange for pre-payment or a small fee, it’s a scam. Scammers are employing AI to spoof legitimate companies, so they may look and sound legitimate. They may even appear in your caller ID as “Spectrum” or “Comcast”. But before you give out personal, account, or payment information, hang up and call your provider directly. Above all—no matter how legitimate an offer seems—never pay for services or debts with a gift card. If someone insists you pay with a gift card, or to buy gift cards to settle a debt, don’t. It’s a scam and you’ll lose your money.

9. Health Care (2%)

Health care is a big business, and scammers are in on the game. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Medicare (or any other healthcare organization) verify the caller. Hang up the phone and call the organization directly (Medicare’s number is 1-800-MEDICARE) to authenticate their claims. Commonly, scammers claim they are sending out new cards and “need to confirm your billing information” to keep your coverage active. This is a scam.

Other healthcare fraud scams solicit unsuspecting customers with offers of big discounts on health insurance. Remember: legitimate agencies (like will only ask for your monthly income and age to give you a quote. Never offer personal information to get a health care quote. Also, people who help you navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace—often called Navigators or Assisters—are not allowed to charge for their services. They also will not ask for your personal or financial information.

10. Credit Cards and Loss Protection (2%)

Credit card fraud is rampant these days. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of this by offering fake “loss protection” programs. Typically, scammers contact you by phone, text, email, or social media message claiming to be from a government agency or credit card “security department”. The offer is simple. They promise added protection or reimbursement for lost funds in exchange for an upfront fee. They may even claim that you have already been hacked. Just remember: federal law already protects you from unauthorized use of your credit card and reputable financial companies won’t solicit you like this. Unfortunately, for this scheme, scammers often target individuals who have already experienced financial loss. If you have already been targeted by a scam, be especially skeptical of unsolicited offers of financial assistance. Never provide payment or personal information to anyone promising to recover lost funds or prevent credit card fraud.

To keep yourself safe from these common scams in Oregon, stay informed and skeptical. Above all, remember to report any suspicious activity to your credit union, financial institution, and the appropriate authorities. This can help you recover lost funds and protect you and others in your community from future attacks.

RankType of FraudNumber of Reports in 2023Percentage of Reports
1Imposter Scams11,09223%
2Identity Theft7,44415%
3Online Shopping/Negative Reviews4,2889%
4Banks, Credit Unions, and Lenders2,7506%
5Prizes, Sweepstakes, and Lotteries2,4875%
6Credit Bureaus, Information, Report Users1,6613%
7Auto Related1,5233%
8Internet Services1,4293%
9Health Care1,2182%
10Credit Cards and Loss Prevention1,1132%
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