Fraud related to the coronavirus pandemic has run rampant in Maine and across the globe as scammers take advantage of the fear and confusion surrounding the virus.
New data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that Mainers have reported 647 cases of COVID fraud so far this year, adding up to roughly $140,000 in losses.
The median individual loss is $288.
In the U.S., more than 91,000 cases of COVID-related fraud have been reported, representing a total loss of over $59 million. A majority of these cases involve online shopping; many consumers paid for items such as hand sanitizer or face masks and never received them, WGME reports. Many other fraud reports are related to cancelled or interrupted travel.
“As soon as the pandemic hit, we started seeing scams related to it,” Katherine Hutt of the Better Business Bureau told WGME. “What you really need to watch out for is when somebody asks you for money. You also need to be really careful about sharing personally identifiable information.”
You can report a scam or consumer issue to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc.