From online dating deceptions to merchandise fraud, officials in Southern California say they’re seeing an increase in scams during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We saw particularly pernicious fraud from unscrupulous individuals or businesses seeking to take advantage of people,” a San Mateo District Attorney’s office spokesperson told The Epoch Times. “Consumers who would otherwise shop in person, have turned to online sellers to purchase necessities.”

With the popularity of online shopping rising throughout the pandemic, scammers have taken advantage of online platforms to fool residents, legal professionals said. Common scams have involved products or services that are exchanged through online communication, mail, or the phone.

California was the state with the highest number of victims and money lost last year, according to a Comparitech report. Victims in the Golden State lost about $621 million to fraud last year, the…

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