It’s sad, but it’s been a golden age for swindlers. They are preying upon millions by pitching various pandemic-related scams.
Americans have been swindled out of some $160 million since the beginning of 2020, reports atlasvpn.com. That translates into more than 118,000 individual cases of fraud. How are they getting into people’s pockets? Here’s what the study found:
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data reveals that most coronavirus-related losses are due to travel or vacation scams, amounting to $47.89 million in monetary damages. Apparently, hotels and flight companies delayed refunds to customers, which is the main contributing factor to these reports.
- Online shopping scams swindled $22.62 million from unsuspecting victims, according to the FTC. Cybercriminals are building scam websites to trick people into purchasing masks, disinfectants, and sometimes even vaccines.
- Internet information services were the cause of $3.07 million in losses. In short, panicking consumers are in a hurry to find out more about the COVID-19 virus. Cybercriminals use the growing panic to sell bogus products containing “secret cures”.
- Scam mobile text messages tricked nearly 5,000 individuals, earning criminals upwards of $2 million.
- More than 4,000 people were swindled by offering diets and products that were supposed to help in fighting off COVID-19.
How can you avoid being scammed? Don’t reply to any unsolicited calls, emails or texts. Check your spam filters.
Don’t ever respond to any solicitations from a “government agency.” They don’t make offers and usually send bland informational letters. Always verify by calling the agency independently. Look up their helplines.
Most importantly, never give out personal information like Social Security and bank account numbers. These are the surest ways to open doors to scams.