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'None of us... are without risk' | The top scams that everyone needs to know

Experts say that we are all vulnerable to fraud.

CALIFORNIA, USA — Scammers are looking to take people's money, especially during natural disasters.

The Federal Trade Commission says Americans lost more than $8 billion to scammers last year. 

Regulators are always on watch for the most popular scams happening now. Earlier this year, the National Consumers League put out its report on the top 10 scams.

"Some of the most popular scams are things like Internet merchandise scams. This is where scammers will put up merchandise like luxury goods or electronics or fashion or medications at deeply discounted prices and try to get you to click through and provide them with information or send them money," said John Breyault, with the National Consumers League. 

Another popular scam is the so-called impersonation scam. 

"These are scams where the fraudster will reach out to you claim to be with a government agency, the police, what they may be. They claim to be a doctor or a lawyer who's representing a family member who's in trouble," said Breyault.

One of the fastest growing scams involves cryptocurrency. 

"It seems every day you have people who are trying to get you to send money to these bogus online cryptocurrency exchanges with promises of huge risk free returns," said Breyault. "But it turns out all you're doing is sending your money to a scammer, and you never get your money back."

Fraudsters like to take advantage of holidays to scam people and also to try to exploit bad news, like natural disasters.

"We very quickly see scammers who do things like charity scams or maybe claim to be someone who lost a lot of money in one of these disasters, but they need your help to get it back and you'll get a cut of it," said Breyault.

Experts say that we are all vulnerable to fraud.

"None of us, no matter how smart we think we are, are without risk when it comes to falling victim to these scams," said Breyault.

When it comes to scams related to weather or natural disasters, keep a close eye on prices. California Attorney General Rob Bonta warns against illegal price gouging. California law generally says it's illegal to charge more than 10% for the price of an item's cost before an emergency declaration. It's 50% if the item only started selling after the declaration.


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