A new study shows coronavirus is leading to an unprecedented number of scams — and New York state residents are the No. 3 most targeted in the nation.
As of July 15, New York residents filed 6,677 fraud complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, according to SocialCatfish.com. This marks a 134% increase since the WHO declared a pandemic in March when 2,859 complaints were filed.
The scams have resulted in $5.9 million in losses — or $250 per victim in the state.
SocialCatfish.com reports the top five states are California (10,938 complaints, up 110% since March), Florida (7,244 complaints, up 124%), New York (6,677 complaints up 134%), Texas (6,427 complaints up 122%) and Pennsylvania (4,245 complaints, up 201%).
North Dakota has the fewest with 96 complaints up 182%.
Nationally, the FTC has registered 144,727 reports of fraud costing victims $93 million — a median loss of $263 per person.
Online shopping ranks No. 1 for most complaints nationally racking up 22,124 reports and the government reported a barrage of activity around stimulus checks. With online shopping surging, and a second round of stimulus checks coming soon, below are the most common scams for each.
The most common online shopping scams involve price gouging on essential items, the non-delivery of ordered items, violating shipping time-limits and scams involving the claim that someone has won free groceries.
Here are 4 common stimulus check scams to avoid as the second stimulus approaches:
1. ROBOCALL CHECK SCAMS: The scammer will call pretending to be the IRS and ask for your personal financial information. They will claim they need this to deposit the stimulus check into your account and will also ask for a fee to deposit said check.
In reality, they want your information so that they can pretend to be you, claim the check for themselves. They can also drain your bank account of your funds with this information and will keep the fee for themselves with no check, in return.
2. EMAIL AND TEXT SCAMS: Scammers will pretend to be the IRS or federal government by emailing or texting you a link to click to receive your check. If you click on the link your electronic device will get plagued with malware and your information gets stolen.
3. IDENTITY THEFT SCAMS: If you have not received your stimulus check yet and the official IRS website says otherwise, it could be possible that you are a victim of identity theft. This means that a scammer has found a way to steal your information, like your SSN, and has claimed your stimulus check for themselves.
4. GOOGLE SEARCH SCAM: Scammers have created copies of the official IRS “Get My Payment” site and have updated their search engine terms so that people conducting google searches for information find these fake sites. Once a person finds their site, they think it is the official IRS website and will enter their information.