Every day, the FTC is collecting data, watching the numbers, and spotting the trends. We’re also spreading the word about COVID-19-related scams that target consumers and businesses. Because the more you know about what’s happening, the easier it will be to protect yourself and others from these scams.
So far, we have gotten more than 175,000 COVID-19-related reports about fraud, identity theft, Do Not Call, and other consumer protection problems. You can find out about trends in your own community by clicking on your state, but recent national data shows that online shopping is the #1 fraud complaint and has caused $16 million in reported losses. These are scams that trick people into ordering products like masks, hand sanitizer, and other high-demand items that never arrive. People are also reporting scam text messages related to bogus offers to earn income, phony economic relief programs, fake charities, and government imposters.
As part of a broader trend, the overall number of Do Not Call complaints are starting to pick up again after months of declining. As the scammers take to the phones again, you can expect to see an uptick in popular phone scams, like government imposter scams that exploit the pandemic or economic stimulus programs.
To help you stay ahead of these scams, keep these tips in mind and pass them along to employees, family, friends, and your community:
- Before you order from an unfamiliar online store, check out the company or product online first. Then pay by credit card, so you can dispute the billing error, report it to your credit card company, and get your money back if something goes wrong.
- Don’t pay money or give out your personal information in response to calls, emails, or texts that say they’re from the government. The government will never call out of the blue to ask for money or your personal information (like Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers).
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
- We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
- We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
- We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
- We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.