GALION — This year, Ohio consumers have lost over $2,270,000 to COVID-19 fraud, according to a new study by The Ascent. COVID-19 fraud includes any type of scam, fraud, or identity theft related to the novel coronavirus.
As of Aug. 31, 2020, Americans have reported over 184,000 cases of fraud and losses of over $124 million, the study found. Although reports of fraud have trended down since May, we could see them spike again as another stimulus package is on the horizon.
The Ascent, a Motley Fool service, analyzed data from the Federal Trade Commission to identify where consumers are most at risk of COVID-19 fraud occurring.
Californians lost the most due to fraud ($17.2 million) by a wide margin, with losses that are more than double that of second-place New York.
Consumers in Alaska have the smallest COVID-19 fraud losses at $49,000.
Consumers in 20 states, as well as Puerto Rico, had median fraud losses of at least $300.
Consumers reported 11,178 cases of fraud where they were contacted by phone. That’s more than any other type of contact method. But fraud via email resulted in the most losses, at almost $18.91 million.
Consumers between the ages of 30 and 39 posted the highest number of fraud reports, but only had the fourth-highest dollar losses. Those in the 50–59 age group had the largest losses with over $13.1 million.
Credit cards were the most common payment method used by victims of COVID-19 scams, yet wire transfers resulted in the biggest losses ($28.29 million), likely because there are far fewer consumer protections.
Although Americans reported over 27,500 cases of online shopping fraud, travel and vacation fraud resulted in nearly 2.5x more losses than online shopping at over $40 million.
The full study along with tips on how to avoid consumer fraud can be found at https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/research/covid-19-stimulus-check-fraud-statistics/.