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FTC receives 7,800 coronavirus-related consumer fraud complaints

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Posted at 10:36 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 22:36:23-04

It appears some companies are taking advantage of consumers during the COVID-19 crisis as the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that it received 7,800 coronavirus-related complaints.

The number of complaints the FTC has received doubled last week from the previous week, the governmental agency announced.

The FTC said that top categories of fraud complaints include travel and vacation related reports about cancellations and refunds, reports about problems with online shopping, mobile texting scams, and government and business imposter scams. The FTC said that the complaints total $4.77 million in losses, or a median loss of $598.

The FTC is asking consumers who believe they have been scammed to report fraudulent activity on its website .

Late last week, the FTC warned nine VoIP service providers and related companies to stop assisting or faciiting illegal coronavirus-related telemarketing calls. The nine companies were warned to not make false or misleading statements to induce a consumer to buy something or contribute to a charity.

The FTC said that many of these calls prey upon consumers’ fear of the virus to perpetrate scams or sow disinformation.

The Food and Drug Administration has also released several advisories warning consumers to be on the lookout for scams involving fraudulent claims of COVID-19 preventions, cures and treatments. The FDA reminded consumers that there have not been any FDA approved treatments or cures for COVID-19.

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook .