OAKHURST – According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), one of the most common scams in the US and Canada today involves callers pretending to be government officials, some callers have gone to the extent of claiming that they are representatives from the Social Security Administration or law enforcement officers who threaten individuals with legal consequences if they do not provide personal information or money.
An investigation conducted by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) found that the number of government scam reports fluctuated, but that the type of scams, has become varied and more complex than ever before.
Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many scammers have seen this as an opportunity to prey on individuals by claiming to be an official representative from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well from the Internal Revenues Service (IRS) who promise a faster processing time for economic compensation. Another common scam that has been reported to the BBB since the pandemic is scammers calling to pass themselves as contact tracers working for various government agencies. The goal is to try to obtain personal information in a false attempt to not only obtain your information, but to have easy access to new targets as they learn of who you have been in contact with.
An AARP study found that 44% of individuals within the U.S. have been reached by at least one of these impersonators.
Complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report $450 million in losses since 2015. As of July 15, 2020 California is leading an unprecedented number of scams at 10, 938 fraud complaints to the FTC, making California the number one targeted state in the US for scams. California complaints being reported to the FTC, has increased 110% since March and has resulted in nearly $14.8 million dollars in losses or $300 dollars per victim.
If you or someone you know has encountered a Coronavirus scam, you are urged to contact your local law enforcement and/or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.