The Investor’s Watchdog

The Investor's Watchdog

Federal Trade Commission: Americans Experienced $100 Million in Losses in Fraudulent Schemes Relating to Coronavirus since March

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Center for Internet Security, AARP and other entities looking to protect investors and potential victims to fraud have been warning investors and the general public to be on the lookout for fraudulent schemes related to the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020.

Over the past several months, the Food and Drug Administration issued warnings to numerous companies who touted a cure when the purported treatments or diagnostic tests for the coronavirus had not yet been approved.

When the CARES Act was passed and stimulus checks were being sent to millions of Americans out of work, scammers claimed to be from government agencies and asked for personal information, including bank account information, by phone, text or email. Other stimulus check scammers falsely claimed that prepayment fees, taxes on the income or processing fees were needed before victims could receive their check.

Government officials have warned, and continue to warn, the public to be on high alert for sophisticated cyberscams, including emails, texts and social media posts, claiming to be from the Center for Disease Control, Red Cross, or other health organizations. Some scammers use these facades to obtain personal information, financial information, load malware onto your computer when you click on links or download attachments, while other scammers directly ask the you to donate to their cause, though they are not a legitimate charity.

Scammers have been capitalizing on coronavirus fraudulent schemes and identity theft since March, resulting in nearly $100 million in losses, according to consumer protection group SocialCatfish.com. Reports of fraudulent activity related to coronavirus has doubled in most states with California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania identified as the five most targeted states for these scams. Residents of these states lost $97.5 million to-date as victims of coronavirus-related scams, according to the FTC. In May, the FTC was reporting that the average victim submitting complaints was reporting fraudulent schemes that resulted in $470 losses on average.

During this time, all individuals, especially investors, should educate themselves on the latest scams. If you are considering an investment of any kind, investigate the latest scams and verify the promoter’s licenses to sell securities and check their registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Phishing scams are also a concern and regulatory agencies are warning the general public to double-check email addresses and discourage opening attachments or links. As always, never share personal and financial information without independently verifying a promoter or entity’s validity.

If you invested and lost money in a fraudulent scheme related to the coronavirus pandemic at the advice of a broker, attorney, insurance agent, financial advisor, or CPA, you may be able to recover.  Since 1998, the experienced attorneys at ChapmanAlbin LLC have been fighting for victims of investment fraud and broker misconduct. Call us today at 1-877-410-8172 for a free consultation. We may be able to help you recover your losses.

Author: Jason T. Albin

Jason Albin is an Attorney and Partner at ChapmanAlbin, the investor rights law firm. He has represented hundreds of investors who have lost money due to broker misconduct, unsuitable investment advice and fraud.​ Jason also represents individuals in “whistleblower” suits filed against unscrupulous companies that try to defraud the US federal and state governments.

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