Coronavirus scams are on the rise, Better Business Bureau warns

The coronavirus pandemic has many on edge, and con-artists are on the move to take advantage of the situation.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The coronavirus pandemic has many on edge, and con-artists are on the move to take advantage of the situation.

"It's such a huge time right now for scams. We've been calling it the perfect time for scammers, because of the pandemic, unemployment, and people at home right now," said Clayton Alexander, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau.

Action News spoke with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Central Calfornia about the scams that popped up in the Valley.

The most common scam has to do with people who order masks and don't receive anything at all. The BBB has also seen unemployment scams trying to lure people on websites.

"Most of the job offers that you can find online are legit, but there are still a lot of bad apples out there. Fake ones meant to steal your money or your personal information," Alexander said.

They added that many people have been ignoring red flags and taking jobs where you don't talk to a person or see them in real life because of physical distancing.

"They say if you don't pay up in 15 minutes, we're going to turn off your power or water. Scammers trick people with that sense of urgency if they don't act now and give over personal or financial information, there will be huge consequences," Alexander said.

They say to proceed to calmly and try not to get caught up in the heat of the moment.

Coronavirus tests and contact tracing scams have also appeared where people ask for personal information.

Alexander adds legitimate workers will speak directly to you.

"They'll call you. They won't text message, they won't message you on Facebook for personal information like date of birth, full name, and they'll just confirm it with you," he said. "They won't tell you the name of the person (that has tested) positive. That's another red flag."

Since the pandemic, puppy scams have also baited those who want a furry friend to spend time with at home.

The BBB says you can go to their website to report scams and to see the most prevalent ones in your area.

The BBB urges people to think twice if something sounds too good to be true, especially if someone is pushing you to give them money or information quickly.

These actions can help save you some cash and a big headache down the road.
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