NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Consumer experts warn that scammers, fraudsters and identity thieves are busier than ever right now.
Some New Yorkers are risk takers, who get in over their heads.
“Somebody tried to sell me rubies and it turned out to be a scam,” one man said.
“It’s called the Murphy game, three-card Monte,” another man said.
That face-to-face fraud is small compared to what happens online, said experts at an event for National Consumer Protection Week. They highlighted scams that are surging.
Pump-and-dump stock scams rely on misinformation to create hype.
“Often spreading false news, so people buy at the price and then they dump their shares, and when they’re gone, people lose most or all of their money,” said Jorge Tenreiro, senior trial counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“And you think it’s coronavirus, some of it?” CBS2’s Dave Carlin asked.
“Fraudsters take advantage of the latest sort of thing that’s in the news,” Tenreiro said.
He says be skeptical of inflated claims regarding coronavirus.
“Do your research, that’s sort of the message,” he said.
RELATED STORY: BBB Warns About New Tax Scam To Steal Your Refund
This month, another popular con can rob you of your refund from the Internal Revenue Service.
“Most people have taxes in their minds right now, and criminals really take advantage of that … [They] try and basically just steal your personal information so they can then go ahead and file a fraudulent tax return in your name and steal your refund,” IRS criminal investigator Anny Pachner said.
Suspicious? It pays to double check your case by taking the time to call the IRS.
“They end up losing it because they just didn’t understand how it works,” said Claire Rosenzweig, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau.
That’s followed by employment offer scams where you get tricked into giving away detailed personal information for jobs that don’t exist.
With any cold call or unwanted messaging, don’t give out sensitive information and don’t open attachments to stay away from this particular March madness.
It is estimated Americans lost nearly $670 million to scams last year.