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Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection warns of scams surfacing in the pandemic

Kaitlyn Riley

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In the season of giving, scammers are still trying to take advantage of people’s money and personal information.

Randy Romanski, secretary-designee for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, said the consumer protection division is continuing to see old scams dressed up in new disguises.

“Unfortunately even during a pandemic, scammers are still trying to take advantage of consumers,” Romanski said.

Recent scams involve pet or recreational vehicle sales. People appear to be selling puppies or RVs online, but once a consumer pays, the seller disappears. Another relatively new development is government payments on Facebook.

“It appears to take the form of a Facebook post where the person claims that a Wisconsin agency is giving out money because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Romanski explained. “It invites people to comment on the post to get the money.”

The Department of Consumer Protection reminds people that if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Romanski advised not to give out any personal information to a stranger over the phone or the internet and to ask a lot of questions to check the legitimacy of anybody trying to make a sale.

People can find resources or file a complaint online or by calling the consumer hotline at (800) 422-7128.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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