• Sunday, Sep 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 08:11 pm

US coronavirus fraud losses near $100 million as Covid-19 scams double

  • Published at 09:25 am August 5th, 2020
phone hand technology digital smartphone
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Even relatively small states saw huge spikes in Covid-related fraud in recent months

US losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100 million since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of Covid-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group said on Tuesday.

A report from the group, based on government data, highlighted the vast scope of a fast-growing criminal cottage industry - from phony stimulus-check offers to shopping scams and fake cures - preying on Americans already distressed by the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania - the most populous of the 50 US states - to be the five most targeted by coronavirus scams in the country.

Together they accounted for about a third of more than 150,000 instances of Covid-related fraud reported nationally by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from mid-March, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, through July, the report showed.

Those cases have cost victims a total of $97.5 million to date, according to the FTC.

Even relatively small states saw huge spikes in Covid-related fraud in recent months, led by Maine, whose monthly complaints of coronavirus scams and identity theft quadrupled between March and July, the study said.


Also read: JKG Covid-19 test scam: DB to press charges against Dr Sabrina, Arif, 6 others


The report was published by the internet-based nonprofit group SocialCatfish.com, which helps consumers avoid being defrauded online by determining the true identity of individuals or organizations hiding behind a phony persona.

Scams taking advantage of Americans’ desperation in the midst of a deadly pandemic and accompanying economic upheaval “are running rampant,” said Richard Neil, a spokesman for the report’s authors.

Several newly flourishing forms of fraud involve fake promises of government stimulus checks, often perpetuated through “robocalls,” texts, or emails seeking personal and financial information the caller supposedly needs to deposit benefits into the victim’s account, according to the report.

Price-gouging and other consumer product scams have also become widespread, the study warned.

54
52
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail