Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
New York, NY –
Government agencies are warning of a sharp rise in frauds targeting people who have fallen into financial hardship because of the recession.
Mindy Bockstein, chair of the New York State Consumer Protection Board, says she saw a 300 percent increase last year in so-called "phishing scams" that arrive in people's email in-boxes.
BOCKSTEIN: Saying we will give you $100, $200 if you complete this survey, or if you give us your personal identifiable information, we'll credit it to your bank account. These are all new tricks trading on the vulnerabilities the concerns that consumers have with the economy.
Scams involving debt collection agencies are also up. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs says last year debt collectors displaced home renovators as the number one subject of complaint. The agency says it erased more than $2 million in consumer debts that agencies had no right to collect.