The Top Scams of 2020

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed the top scams of 2020. They received over 4.7 million consumer reports and complaints, and nearly half of those were fraud. Of those who got scammed, they reported losing nearly $3.3 billion last year. Surprisingly, the largest group of individuals who got scammed (40%) were in their twenties. While those in their seventies reported scams half as often, the amount of money they lost was significantly higher.

Identity theft was the number one most reported issue to the FTC… mostly related to COVID.

Whether it was scammers using stolen identities to falsely apply for unemployment benefits, or representing themselves as a small business owner to claim a Paycheck Protection Program loan… These types of reported crimes were up nearly 3000 percent last year. If this happens to you, report the fraud to your company, state agencies, and the FTC, and keep an eye on your credit report. Scammers will call or visit you, pretending to be from a government agency, legal firm or other business. What makes these scams dangerous, is that they’re often looking for two things – money and personal information. They’ll often give you a reason you need to pay money… such as back taxes, or a warrant being out for your arrest. They’ll pressure you to pay it to avoid something bad from happening. Hang up, and if you’re concerned, call the government agency yourself to verify the information.

Scammers might also represent themselves as someone else to get your personal information, such as a social security number, bank pin number, or a password… Don’t give this information out to anyone who has called you. Always call the company back directly to see if this information is really needed.

Online shopping has skyrocketed, and scammers always go where the money is. These scams range from paid reviews for less-than-quality items… to online shops offering items for huge discounts.
They say that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is… and scammers are building online shops with things like electronics listed for hundreds of dollars off. Unfortunately, the purchase may never arrive, and if it does, it’s a cheap knock off. In even worse cases, the online scammer also steals the credit card information you used to make the purchase… Be skeptical of online reviews and shop at reputable online retailers.

The phone has always been one of the top ways scammers reach out, but 2020 saw a sharp increase in text messages. The scammers usually used links within he text messages to grab their victims, and the bait was usually something related to information about a package or delivery, as well as stimulus checks or loans for businesses. If you think the contact may be legitimate, don’t click on the link in the text message… visit the company’s website to check.

When you know these tricks and what to watch for, you’re less likely to get scammed. Share these with friends and relatives to help them avoid becoming a victim as well.

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