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BBB warns of increased scam activity during COVID-19 crisis

Sheriff Gibson issues scam alert
Posted at 1:46 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 14:46:24-04

The Better Business Bureau is warning that the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis is creating a "perfect storm" for scammers looking to take advantage of people in need.

According to the BBB, the COVID-19 crisis is forcing people to distance themselves from others, work remotely, and spend time indoors and online and this may be helping scammers.

In a release from the organization, the BBB cites research it gathered along with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the Stanford Center on Longevity that found that people are more likely to lose money to a scam when they are socially or physically isolated from others, if they are actively engaging online, and if they are financially vulnerable.

As bricks-and-mortar businesses close or curtail services and the financial markets experience a high level of volatility, more people are turning to the Internet to seek new or temporary employment but they are also at increased risk of employment scams.

The BBB says its research deemed employment scams the riskiest scams of 2019, making up 9.3 percent of all scams reported and a median dollar loss of $1,500.

Despite these factors, the BBB is offering steps everyone can take to protect themselves and their family from losing money and compromising personal information.

  • Don’t be afraid to contact a friend, or a company or organization you trust for advice.
  • Before clicking a link or sharing personal information online, stop, pause, and research the company or person.
  • Beware of job offers that sound too good to be true.
  • Learn about scammer tactics to help avoid falling prey to scams and be wary of any offer to “get ahead” that seem too good to be true.

To report a potential scam, contact BBB of Acadiana at (337) 981-3497 24 or visit BBB.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout the state.