CROMWELL, Conn. — In honor of National Consumer Protection Week the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has released the 2020 BBB Scam TrackerSM Risk Report
. The report found that adults ages 18–24 reported the highest median losses ($150) and the highest likelihood of loss (56.6%) to scams in 2020. Previously, older age groups consistently lost higher median dollar amounts to scammers year over year, even while young adults tended to lose money more often. This year, the financial loss reported by those 18-24 was equal to that of adults 65+. Online scams rise during COVID-19 pandemic: 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report
, focuses on the impact of scams in the wake of the pandemic and the demographic groups most at risk.
More scams were perpetrated online and yielded the highest likelihood of financial loss in 2020. This is likely connected to consumer habit shifts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; in a survey of over 5,000 individuals that reported scams to BBB Scam TrackerSM
in 2020, 43.1% said they spent more time online due to the pandemic, and 57.1% said they purchased more online because of the pandemic.
According to BBB ScamTracker, Connecticut residents lost over $97,000 to scams in 2020, $63,000 (65%) of the money lost was due to online purchase scams.
The risk of financial loss also rose significantly in 2020. Nearly one of every two reports to BBB Scam Tracker (47%) noted a financial loss. Online purchase scams were the top riskiest scam in 2020, comprising 38% of all scam reports. Pet and PPE-related online purchase scams spiked during the pandemic.
Another way scammers take advantage of younger adults in particular is by utilizing a payment method less familiar to younger generations: checks. Fake check scams were the second most risky scam for adults ages 18-24 in a year where payment via online payment systems rose across all age groups. Fake check scams yielded one of the highest median dollar losses per encounter at $1,679 in 2020.
The five riskiest scams of 2020 were:
- Online purchase
- Fake check/money order
- Advance fee loan
- Home improvement
For more highlights from Online scams rise during COVID-19 pandemic: 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, visit BBB.org/RiskReport