HONOLULU (KHON2) – The Coronavirus pandemic has caused certain scams to spike in 2020. Now, experts are warning consumers about the top five schemes to watch out for as the new year begins.

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The Better Business Bureau has seen the number of consumers falling for common scams soar last year. Cyber criminals will continue to use those same schemes as the new year progresses.

The BBB says the big one to look out for is online shopping scams.

“We saw it with the PPE gear and we see it all the time where people go online, they shop at a website that they don’t really know,” said Roseann Freitas, The Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manger. “Then they purchase an item that they never get or they get an inferior product.”

Pet scams skyrocketed last year with con artists posting fake offers online. The BBB also expects employment scams to uptick in 2021.

“They’re going to say that they’re going to send you money, but there’ll be some leftover, send it back. Right there is the big red flag, because they’re not really sending you money.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the BBB says beware of government imposter scams.

“Especially with the stimulus checks and all of the government interactions. With the pandemic, we’re seeing more and more people trying to say they’re the CDC or that they’re the federal government or the IRS. So be really careful.”

Tech support scams will also continue in the new year with people still working from home.

The BBB says, always avoid too good to be true offers, use credit cards for online purchases and ignore suspicious messages.

“Be very careful when you look at anything that pops up, whether it’s a text message, an email, or even an unsolicited phone call. If you didn’t initiate the interaction, have your guard up at that point.”

To report a scam, visit the BBB Scam Tracker.

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