Pandemic Scammers Robbed US Consumers Of More Than $77M
Americans have lost more than $77 million in COVID-19 fraud since the start of the year, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
But that number misses an unprecedented scope of scams connected to the coronavirus, according to John Breyault, a spokesman for the National Consumers League, the Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group.
“I think the FTC’s numbers are almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fraud losses,” Breyault told CNBC. “We know fraud is historically an under-reported crime.”
Consumers reported 121,466 instances of fraud, the FTC found. The median loss was $270.
The top five scam categories were online shopping, travel and vacation, credit card, financial institutions and text messages, the FTC data said.
As Congress considers a second round of stimulus checks, Breyault told the network cybercriminals are prepared to rip off unwary consumers.
“Scammers are seeing this as an unprecedented opportunity to take advantage of consumers, who are not only in dire financial straits but are being inundated with information about Covid cures or protections that are dubious at best and fraudulent at worst,” he told the cable news station.