Covid-Related Scams Have Cost Americans Nearly $500 Million

July 15, 2021

Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have lost almost $500 million to covid-related scams, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission.

The agency reported that between January 1, 2020 and July 8, 2021, roughly 327,000 people have filed complaints about fraudulent activity related to either the pandemic or ensuing stimulus payments. All told, the victims lost a combined $488 million, with an average loss of $366 per incident. While fewer older Americans have been scammed relative to other cohorts, the typical fraud victim over the age of 80 lost $1,000.

Online shopping accounted for the largest number of reported fraud cases, with 53,000 complaints, which accounts for about 16% of the total. With stores closed and everyone stuck inside, scammers found opportunities by selling hard-to-find items like hand sanitizer and gloves, which they then failed to deliver.

The FTC is now warning that the child tax credits, which will start rolling out to families this week, present another potentially lucrative opportunity for scammers

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