BBB REPORT: 46 percent spike in number of scams during pandemic


FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The Better Business Bureau is reviewing a newly released report outlining scams in 2020.

As expected, scams dramatically increased during the pandemic as more people resorted to shopping, working, and learning virtually.

We knew scams would be up with so much online activity during the pandemic.

Now we have the numbers to back it.

There was a 46% increase in the number of scams that circulated in 2020 according to the latest BBB Scam Tracker Report.

“That is up significantly,” Blair Looney, President BBB Central California, said.

It’s a 44-page document that was released by the Better Business Bureau, detailing the scams they saw in an unprecedented 2020.

“When I first saw that 46% increase I thought oh my gosh, there’s been that much activity,” Looney said.

Scams significantly climbed in several categories.

The most common scheme was targeting those online with a large pool of potential victims as society shut down.

“All of a sudden that time turned into idle time at home, so people were looking for activity in the world wide web.”

Online purchases are the number one avenue scammers use to steal from you making up 38% of all reported scams.

“That means people were giving away money and personal identification information.”

Scams about employment come in at number two.

Looney says it makes sense.

“People falling for employment scams, it makes sense. During COVID-19, there was such a large number of people who lost their jobs, and so they took the initiative to take care of themselves and to start looking for jobs but they got taken advantage of.”

Susceptibility of falling for a scam is also at an all time high.

With nearly half of all scams being successful in stealing money.

Looney says this means the scammers are just getting smarter.

“Scammers are very creative and innovating. They have the scam that started years ago and they just adjust it and modify it to today’s world.”

The most common scam reported in 2020 was pet scams.

They make up 30% of all online purchase scams.

It’s also a costly scheme to fall for with the average person losing more than $700 dollars.

The full report can be found here.

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