Security & Fraud

FTC Releases State Data Of COVID-19 Related Consumer Complaints

Fraud was the top complaint related to coronavirus logged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to new reports released on the organization's website.

There were 47,881 fraud complaints to the FTC across the country, the majority in every state. There were 14,079 complaints about identity theft, and 3,738 “Do Not Call” complaints. And there were 26,505 complaints about other types of coronavirus-related issue.

The total loss from fraud was $59.27 million, with 47.3 percent of complaints reporting a loss of finances, with a median loss of $300 per complaint. There were 91,808 reports overall.

The top reports, the FTC says, included 12,213 complaints about online shopping fraud, 11,142 about travel or vacation scam and around 2,000 to 3,000 for credit card, mobile texts and savings, loans or credit union-related scams.

The online shopping complaints, according to a press release, typically involved items not arriving on time or not being what was promised, or not arriving at all.

Broken down by age, the 30-39 age group topped the number of reports with 3,979 reports and losses numbering $5.7 million. But from the age 60-69 group, who lost $6.9 million overall, there were only 2,865 reports. And the elderly 80-89 age group saw only 353 reports, but lost $1.4 million total, comprising 33.1 percent of the total lost.

The press release says the data started to be compiled in March of this year. California has reported the overall largest number of complaints.

Fraud has spiked during the coronavirus, spurred by the massive and oft-confusing shift to digital means that left many open doors for scammers while companies and individuals figured out what they were doing. In addition, as many people utilize digital banks for the first time, they may not know how to look out for warning signs for fraud.

The main way to stop this from happening is through education, where employees and customers are trained via social media campaigns from financial institutions to look for things like unexpected password or personal information requests.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.