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BBB: The COVID-19 pandemic is a “scammer’s paradise”

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(WKOW) -- As soon as COVID-19 pandemic took hold, scammers were already figuring out ways to use that information to take advantage of people to steal their identity and their money.

According to Tiffany Schultz with the Better Business Bureau, COVID-19 was a scammer's paradise.

"They want that emotional attachment, they want you to react quickly," she said.

Plus, scammers follow the news. They like to tailor their scams to what's making headlines.

Take contact tracing scams, for example. Those became an issue early last summer as health departments started calling people to figure out if they had come in contact with someone who had COVID-19. Scammers quickly learned they could go one step further, and get people to reveal their bank information.

"The person who was on the phone with them was emotionally attached. They were wondering how they were exposed to COVID-19," Schultz said. "They just followed the scammer's questions and continued to answer whatever the scammer wanted."

But there are ways to spot the scam before you get tricked. Schultz says that if something sounds too good to be true, it is. She also recommends that you stop and take a second to really consider what the person on the phone, or in your email, might be asking.

"Do your research, get a phone number to call that person back," she said. "Government agencies typically don't reach out to you directly."

If you recently had an experience with someone that raised red flags, visit the BBB's scam tracker to see if it has been reported as a scam.

Check out the PDF below to see a timeline of the known scams that the BBB has been tracking over the last year.

Covid-19-scams-timeline-April-22-2021

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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