Don’t Fall In The Trap: These Are The Top Consumer Scams, According To NY AG


Attorney General Letitia James highlighted some of the top scams New Yorkers face to kick off National Consumer Protection Week.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, James said internet-related and price hike scams were the biggest threat to consumers, with thousands of complaints filed with his office in 2020.

Top 10 Consumer Complaints in 2020, According to James’ Office:

  • Internet (Internet services and service providers, data privacy and security, digital media, data breaches, Internet manipulation fraud): 9,832 complaints;
  • COVID-19 price gouging (increase in online and brick-and-mortar prices for items such as hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, toilet paper, food): 7,701 complaints;
  • Landlord / tenant disputes (release of bail, tenant harassment): 2,752 complaints;
  • Health clubs (continuous billing of costs during club closures, inability to cancel memberships, refunds not provided, no response from clubs): 2,621 complaints;
  • Car (sales, service, financing, repairs): 2,561 complaints;
  • Consumer services (security systems, technical repairs, immigration services, vocational training): 2,512 complaints;
  • Retail sales (any sale of goods: food, clothing, hire purchase, online orders): 1,609 complaints;
  • Credit (debt collection, credit card billing, debt settlement and relief, payday loans, credit repair, credit bureaus, identity theft): 1,436 complaints;
  • Utilities (cordless and residential telephones, energy services and suppliers, cable and satellite): 1,378 complaints;
  • Trip (inability to cancel or lack of reimbursement for cancellations required by COVID-19 travel restrictions): 1,251 complaints.

James also warned of new COVID-19 vaccine scams, fake vaccine cards, and alleged vaccine cures, which are bogus. Puppy scams have also increased in the past 12 months, according to the attorney general.

“The devastation unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the many other ways consumers were defrauded in 2020, unfortunately led my office to receive a record number of consumer fraud complaints in 2020,” said James. “The consumers who have helped identify and report issues to our office have been invaluable partners in our efforts to end deceptive scams and will continue to be critical partners in the future.

“I urge all New Yorkers to follow these tips to minimize the risk of being a victim of fraud, but, in the event of fraud, my office will continue to fight to protect New York consumers.”

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