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2020 COVID-19 scams costly with more to come in 2021

From the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia:

COVID-19 changed our lives and our behaviors in 2020. With a greater emphasis on “trust,” consumers really raised the bar when choosing where to shop–neighborhood or online–and the importance of supporting local businesses more than ever grew month by month. Expect that to continue throughout 2021.

But one misstep, and you could be looking at financial ruin or your ID stolen. Scammers will keep taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by preying on gullible people who are unaware of the possible dangers that lurk in a text or email.

Better Business Bureau’s 2020 COVID-19 Scam wrap up report illustrates the impact of COVID-19 related scams, with women being the most susceptible to be scammed. According to BBB Scam Tracker, the median amount of money someone lost from a COVID-19 related scam in 2020 was $88. Most consumers lost their money from having visited fraudulent and fake websites. 

Download the infographic (PDF).

How to Avoid Coronavirus Scams

Looking ahead into 2021, BBB warns consumers to watch for more of the same type of scams, especially around employment opportunities and health and safety precautions. To see some of the top related coronavirus scams, check out our BBB tips on COVID-19.

“People keep getting ripped off by criminals who take full advantage of the COVID crisis,” said Barry N. Moore, President & CEO of BBB serving Central Virginia. “Scammers don’t care who you are or what your situation is. They want to steal your money and/or your personal identity. It’s that simple,” added Moore. 

Since the pandemic began early last year, fraudsters look for ways to use similar tactics or elevate their methods as the crisis continues. Spotting and reporting scams is more critical than ever. 

Read BBB’s tips on what kinds of scams are out there and how to avoid them.

For More Information:

For more consumer tips regarding COVID-19, see BBB.org/Coronavirus

For more business tips, see BBB.org/SmallBusiness.

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.

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