Coronavirus scams have caused $10M in losses, FTC says

Mackenzie Garrity -

The Federal Trade Commission has received more than 14,000 complaints about coronavirus-related scams since Jan. 1, totaling $10 million in losses, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"The stress people are under during the pandemic opens up whole new emotional avenues for attackers to prey on," Chris Rothe, co-founder of security organization Red Canary, told The Journal.

The coronavirus scams have involved stimulus checks, airline refunds, charities, fines for breaking social-distancing rules, COVID-19 preparedness tests, unproven treatments and medical supply sales. They are designed to trick people into taking immediate action.

Older adults are typically more likely to be targeted because they often have more wealth, the newspaper said, but with many people in the country at home, any person is vulnerable to a phishing attack.

"We're a captive audience at home," Amy Nofzinger, director of AARP's Fraud Watch Network, told the paper. "I find myself picking up my phone more often. We're all in this high-emotion state. I think maybe it's a family member or a neighbor that needs help."

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