HONOLULU (KHON2) – Scammers continue to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and prey on vulnerable consumers.
The Better Business Bureau has released their 2020 COVID-19 Scam Wrap Up report to get an inside look at pandemic-related scams.
The BBB collected data from March 1 to December 31, 2020. The COVID-19 Scam Wrap Up report measures everything from how much money con artists walked away with to the most common scams consumers fell for.
“Where we saw it the most is probably not a big surprise to everybody, but it was with masks,” said Roseann Freitas, The Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager. “So that accounted for most of the reports that we received. Next is the one that really breaks your heart, and that is pets.”
The BBB says consumers also lost out on employment, grant and travel scams in 2020.
Meanwhile, the top way people lost their money was being contacted through a fake website.
“Number two was social media platforms where they were lured into some sort of fake advertisement and then they receive something via email. So when it came down to overall, with all the scams, the median amount of money lost was $88 per scam.”
The BBB found that 35 to 54 year old’s were the most susceptible to COVID-19 related scams.
As mass vaccinations get underway and the pandemic continues, the BBB is urging consumers to keep their guard up for another year of these schemes.
“Always be cautious when receiving an email or a text message or anything you read on social media. Especially if it’s something you didn’t request and it just popped into your platform there.”
For more information on the BBB’s 2020 COVID-19 scam wrap up report, click here.