GREENSBORO, N.C. — Even in the middle of a global pandemic, scammers find a way to try to make money off of you.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has a warning for consumers: “Whenever a crisis like this occurs, there are bad people who will try to exploit peoples' fear, their desperation, their uncertainty, to steal money,” he said.

According to your fellow North Carolinians, those bad people are already out there. The state department of justice says about 49-percent of price gouging complaints involved groceries. The second-most common complaint? Inflated prices of hand sanitizer. 

RELATED: How to make your own hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between an expensive product and a product that falls under the price gouging guidelines. The item must be something necessary like water, gasoline, or hand sanitizer during a pandemic. The seller also needs justification for raising their price. If it costs more to overnight ship the item, the seller can raise the price some. But if the price is raised to an unreasonable amount, that’s price gouging.

So, if you think the product you bought or wanted to buy falls under price gouging guidelines, make a formal complaint online.

  1. Collect your evidence. You can do this by taking a picture of the price or receipt. 
  2. Get the name of the company, the address of the business, and what product they were selling.
  3. Once you’ve got all of that, head to the NC Department of Justice's website to fill out the form. You can access it by clicking here.

RELATED: YES! Social Security and disability recipients will get stimulus checks

RELATED: What's the timeline to apply for unemployment?

RELATED: How to get paid sick leave or paid time off to stay home with your kids for two weeks