DES MOINES, Iowa -- Consumer complaints in Iowa were up 24 percent last year.
The Attorney General's Office blames the increase on the COVID-19 pandemic and last year's derecho.
"Scammers follow the headlines and, of course, what was in the headlines in 2020...what caused people to be confused and fearful" asks Lynn Hicks with the Iowa Attorney General's Office
He says the pandemic added a whole new wrinkle for scam artists in 2020.
"Calls from people saying 'oh, there's a problem with your stimulus check and we'll need some personal information from you'--that sort of thing--or 'hey, you're eligible for the vaccine, just click on this link'" Hicks says.
He says The Iowa Attorney General's Office took more than 600 complaints about price gouging for toilet paper and other products.
Hicks says even though parts of the economy closed for portions of 2020 because of the pandemic, typical consumer complaints remained high.
For the third year in a row, he says auto-related problems topped all categories of complaints reported to the AG's office.