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Scams and COVID-19

To the stresses of the COVID-19 epidemic – fear of contracting the illness, working remotely, trying to balance parenthood and job – you can now add the possibility of being duped by unscrupulous sellers looking to make money from the crisis.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the cost of pandemic-related consumer fraud is steep. Between Jan. 1 and June 8, 2020, consumers reported losing a total of approximately $59.2 million to COVID-19-related fraud. California has reported the largest number of such complaints.

In an effort to make as much information as possible available to consumers, the FTC is releasing additional, state-by-state information about fraud related to the pandemic. Specific numbers can be found on the agency’s new interactive complaint data dashboards. Click here to access them.

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The most common pandemic-related complaint the FTC receives is about online shopping. These complaints include reports about items not arriving or not arriving when promised and items that are different than advertised.

Other complaints include credit-card fraud and bank and credit union fraud, the FTC said.

So far, the FTC has received more than 91,000 total COVID-19-related complaints between January 1 and June 8, 2020.

To file a complaint with the FTC about any consumer issue, click here  or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

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