Scams on the rise during COVID-19 pandemic | #youtubescams | #lovescams | #datingscams

From social media accounts looking to get your information to fake phone calls looking to clean out your bank account and even emails trying to get your money in exchange for fake vaccines, officials say the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a wave of scams of all forms targeting everyone, and New Yorkers have already lost millions.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that New Yorkers have filed over 20,000 fraud complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments costing residents $23.7 million. Last month, the FTC reported that nationally it received more than 2.1 million fraud reports from consumers in 2020 with consumers reporting a loss of more than $3.3 billion to fraud.

So, how are people being scammed? The FTC says online shopping, internet services, prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries and telephone and mobile services were the top fraud categories. Paying for fake offers, goods and services at prices too good to be true are being blamed.

One example of a common scam is companies marketing unsubstantiated COVID remedies. One New York-based company selling “botanicals and medicinal foods” that purported to “reduce [the] risk of worsening symptoms, or…ward off the virus entirely” is being investigated

In another scam, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection reports that text messages offering “pandemic stimulus relief” in exchange for providing personal financial information on official-looking, but fraudulent, websites impersonating government agencies were sent out.

“This has been a year of vulnerability for all New Yorkers,” said Brooklyn State Sen. Zellnor Myrie. “However, some bad actors have chosen to exploit this vulnerability to seek ill-gotten profit from individuals or from the government. COVID-19 has already wrought untold economic devastation to New Yorkers, especially upon those who had the least to begin with. On top of everything else, no one should have to contend with additional financial losses due to fraud in this incredibly challenging moment.”

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