ROCKFORD (WREX) – The local Better Business Bureau has published the top scams of 2020 and scammers have used the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage to defraud money from local residents.
“Scammers are known to take advantage of all current events and news, and unfortunately the pandemic was no exception,” said Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford regional office.
As COVID-related scams come in fourth place, the number could be much higher as scammers have used the pandemic to influence people in other categories, according to BBB.
“This has been an opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of people’s emotions and the dramatic increase in remote working and online shopping,” said Horton. “As we begin the new year, with continued vaccine rollouts and stimulus programs, we only expect to see these trends continue.”
Online shopping scams continued to escalate in 2020 and are now at the top of the scam list.
Counterfeit product scams have dropped from 9th place last year to 2nd place this year.
This year’s top ten list also included the return of job scams, debt collection and identity theft.
Here are the top 10 scams of 2020, according to the BBB:
- Online shopping on fake websites
- Counterfeit products
- Job scams and fake job offers
- COVID-related scams
- Debt collection like bills, calls or emails for bogus debts
- Advance Fee Loan which is the promise of a “loan” after paying the fees
- Phishing scams
- Credit card scams, including fake emails and phone calls claiming there’s something wrong with your account in order to steal money and information – or fake credit card debt consolidations
- Credit repair and debt relief
- Identity theft
These results are based on locally reported incidents. Later this year, the national results of BBB Scamtracker will be announced.