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As scams increase nationwide, the BBB has advice to avoid becoming a victim

(KION) The Better Business Bureau reports that online scams are on the rise nationwide, but this time, certain age groups are falling victim to hackers.

Many of us are on the web at different times of the day, but did you know that hackers may use that time to reel you in for a lottery scam.

"Legitimate sweepstakes and lottery companies never ask you to pay a fee to win," says Steve McFarland, the President and CEO of the BBB Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.

McFarland says there has been a reported uptick of lottery scams nationwide. Scammers ask for a $5 credit or debit transaction for a chance to win a million dollars.

"And a quick question, what do I have to lose?" McFarland said. "You know, maybe I'll pay five bucks and I'll win a million bucks. I'll buy a new Mercedes. That's the lure, and for most people, they know better, but some people don't."

It's a concern one person we spoke with says she has for her parents.

"I want my parents to be empowered to be able to do their own banking and online business on their own, but I'm quite worried at the rate of these scams coming. Just a click away and you can lose your life savings," said San Jose resident Vidhya Mahadevan.

McFarland says the pandemic has caused many financial hardships for families around the country, and internet hackers took advantage, knowing more people were at home playing their luck.

The BBB says top scams included those related to online shopping, fake debt assistance and sweepstakes. Some may wonder what the next step is if you feel you may be the victim of a scam, and McFarland has some advice.

"You can file online on bbbscamtracker.org and you can let your families and neighbors know and they can see scams on sweepstakes and everything else in their own zip code," he said.

McFarland says the Federal Trade Commission and local Attorney General can be of assistance to you.

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Taryn Mitchell

Taryn Mitchell is a weekend anchor and multimedia journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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