Online purchase scams spike during the pandemic, according to new BBB report

U.S. and World Business News

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — As more people are staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are spending time online.

A new report from the Better Business Bureau shows a spike in people falling victim to online purchase scams. 

“You have more people than ever online,” said Barry N. Moore, President and CEO of the BBB serving Central Virginia.

According to the new report, more than 80 percent of people who reported an online purchase scam lost their money.

The top age group who fell for these scams is 35 to 44 year old millennials, according to the survey.

“That’s a shame. I know they’re pretty savvy, but they have to be very careful, as do all people who go online,” Moore told 8News.  

Moore said the most common scam this year is pet scams. Criminals will trick consumers out of their money for pet supplies or even fake pet sales.

“If you can’t see that puppy and scratch behind its ears, don’t try to buy it over an online purchase,” said Moore.

As thousands are unemployed during the pandemic, scammers are also targeting those without jobs. Moore warns of criminals who pose as employers and ask for direct deposit information.

“What you’re doing is giving them an open door into all of your banking,” he said.

Moore does not expect this spike in Internet scams to end anytime soon, but there are some ways you can protect yourself.

Moore said if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. He also recommends doing research on the product and the website you are looking to buy from.

The BBB has a scam tracker feature on its website where people can report scams, allowing you to search a database if you are unsure about a particular website.

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