According to the Federal Trade Commission, credit unions, banks and saving and loan institutions are on the top five list for COVID-19 fraud complaints made by consumers.
However, the total number of the FI complaints was low compared to the total number other coronavirus consumer complaints.
The FTC’s interactive COVID-19 complaint data dashboards show that online shopping is No. 1 with 26,906 complaints filed by consumers, followed by travel/vacations (21,760); credit cards (6,103); credit unions, banks and savings & loan institutions (4,742), and health care — diet products, centers and plan —- (4,120).
From the beginning of the year to Aug. 25, the FTC said it has processed nearly 180,000 COVID related consumer complaints and more than 95,000 are suspected as fraudulent. Nearly 27,000 consumer complaint reports involved ID theft, while more than 6,000 “do not call” complaints were processed and 52,084 were classified as other consumer complaints.
The FTC estimated this COVID fraud has cost consumers nearly $120 million in losses with a median fraud loss of $290.
“Recent national data shows that online shopping is the #1 fraud complaint and has caused $16 million in reported losses,” Karen Hobbs, assistant director for the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education, said. “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 impostors.”
Hobbs also noted as part of broader trend, the overall number of do-not-call complaints are starting to pick up again after they were declining for months.
“As the scammers take to the phones again, you can expect to see an uptick in popular phone scams, like government impostor scams that exploit the pandemic or economic stimulus programs,” she said.
The FTC has posted its national and state-level data, which is displayed on interactive COVID-19 complaint data dashboards.
Earlier this week, TransUnion released its quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends, which showed fraudsters are decreasing their schemes against businesses but increasing COVID-19 focused scams against consumers online.
For example, TransUnion’s analysis found the percent of suspected fraudulent digital transactions against businesses worldwide decreased 9% from the beginning of the pandemic (“phase 1,” March 11-May 18) to when businesses began reopening (“phase 2,” May 19-July 25). In contrast, TransUnion’s Consumer Financial Hardship surveys showed consumers targeted by digital COVID-19 schemes increased 10% from the beginning of the pandemic through the end of July.
TransUnion found the countries with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent transactions were: Kazakhstan, Greece and Cyprus. In the U.S., the consumer credit reporting company found the cities with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent transactions were Livonia, Mich., Akron, Ohio and Jackson, Miss.
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