(WTNH) — It’s sad but true. Scammers taking advantage of a global pandemic. The numbers are staggering.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing more than $3-billion to fraud in 2020, up a gargantuan 83% from 2019.

These con artists pose as government officials and the like as they look to take advantage during the darkest time for all of us. What’s next? Disaster relief scams.

“It’s an all too common occurrence,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. “They’re predicting a stronger than normal hurricane and tropical storm season. It’s already started with Tropical Storm Elsa.

The Attorney General is telling everyone to be careful when it comes to cleanup and repair scams.

“Unfortunately, if people don’t observe the proper regulatory and charitable giving formalities and rules and regulations people can get into trouble. And if you’re a donor you’re at risk of getting scammed,” explained Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull.

She said not only is it important to be cautious but to also be prepared. If a major storm causes damage to your property, don’t hire the first person who knocks on your door. “Do some homework now. Maybe identify some tree removal services, some home improvement contractors that you can vet and feel comfortable with.”

This way, if you find yourself in an emergency situation, you’re prepared and have a good feel for who you can trust.