According to data analysed by the Atlas VPN research team, Americans lost $160.75 million to Covid-19-related scams since the start of 2020. In total, US citizens reported over 118 thousand fraud cases, with 49.2% of those reports indicating a financial loss.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data analysed has shown that of the 5 most common scam types, the majority of the coronavirus related loses arise from travel or vacation scams. These were likely to be where hotels and flight companies delayed issuing refunds, totalling around $47.89 million in monetary damages. Online shopping scams are also a high contributor to losses, with customers losing a collective $22.62 million by purchasing through scam websites.
The final three most common scams, causing over $6 million in losses, revolve around misinformation in some way. Internet services, where panicked consumers are anxious to know more about the virus are sold fake products to “help”, with criminals taking advantage of the concerned public. Mobile text messages and health-related products also helped deceive consumers, with the latter again related to products that are supposed to help in fighting off Covid-19.
In terms of how these scams were carried out, the report has found that the most financial damages, $28.69 million, were lost to website scams, with a further $23.52 million lost to email phishing scams. Phone, mail and even consumer-initiated contact, where individuals initiate the first contact themselves, are all among the most financially damaging contact methods.
For more information and to view the report in full click here.