The Hunterdon County Sheriff is issuing a scam alert that is targeting those who sell their creations at local craft fairs.

A flyer circulating on social media has been promoting a series of craft fairs being held at the county fairgrounds in East Amwell. Sheriff Fred Brown says these Autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas Fairs are all bogus, "The claims on social media are false and none of these events have been planned at the county’s Fairgrounds."

The ads look very legitimate and include details about each fair including dates, times and how to register. It also has a link to pay registration fees. If you click on it, and enter your payment information, the scammers have your credit card information.

We are warning the public to beware of these scams. After researching the social media advertised events, at the behest of the County Parks Division, our team determined that the advertisements for the Autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas Fairs at South County Park are illegitimate. - Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred Brown

Sheriff Brown did not say how many people have fallen for the scam, but noted these types of scams have been on the rise during the pandemic. He warned residents to do their homework and research a company before sending money to anyone.

The Federal Trade commission has reported an alarming rise in consumer fraud, partly fueled by the pandemic. The FTC received more than 2.1 million fraud reports in 2022.

The cost of consumer fraud has nearly doubled in a year, from $1.8 billion in 2019 to a staggering $3.3 billion last year. The real numbers are likely much higher, as many scams go unreported due to people feeling embarrassed they got taken.

The most common, and costly dupes, are so-called "impostor scams." The FTC says $1.2 billion dollars was lost to these scams, similar to the one being alerted in Hunterdon County. Online shopping was the second most common scam, costing consumers $246 million.

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