COVID-19-related scams cost Americans over $160 million
October 2020 by Atlas VPN
According to data analyzed by the Atlas VPN research team, Americans lost more than $160 million to COVID-19-related scams since the start of 2020. In total, US citizens reported over 118 thousand fraud cases to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with 49.2% of those reports indicating a financial loss.
The report shows that:
• Americans lost $160.75 million to COVID-19-related fraud in 2020.
• US citizens reported over 118 thousand fraud cases, with 49.2% of those reports indicating a financial loss.
• Median losses per report are $303.
• Most losses are due to travel or vacation scams, amounting to $47.89 million.
• Online shopping scams swindled $22.62 million from unsuspecting victims. To see the full report, please click here.
Median losses per individual victim are $303. Moving further, we will analyze the 5 most common scam types. The second part of the report uncovers the most used scam contact methods.
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. US citizens filed 25,916 such reports.
Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, explains:
“Apparently, hotels and flight companies are delaying to issue 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.
Most scams carried out via websites
As many as 39.2% of reports indicated a contact method, which shines a light on how fraudsters reach victims.
Data reveals that most monetary damages - $28.69 million, were caused by website scams. Over 12 thousand US consumers reported being a victim of fraud after trusting sites run by cybercriminals.
E-mail phishing scams are the second most financially damaging contact method, luring out $23.52 million YTD. According to the FTC, more than 10 thousand reports mentioned e-mail as the way scammers initiated contact with victims.
COVID-19-related phone calls and messages accounted for $21.55 million in losses. Phone scams are mentioned most often, with nearly 14 thousand reports since the start of the pandemic.