Coronavirus scams involving IRS stimulus checks, fake PPE and more have cost Americans almost $39M, officials say

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Money Fix Town Hall: Hot Scams & Rip-Offs, Part 1
Watch Part 1 of "Money Fix Town Hall: Hot Scams & Rip-Offs" hosted by ABC7's Jason Knowles.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Almost $39 million has been lost so far due to coronavirus-related scams and rip-offs, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC said it's gotten more than 52,000 reports of COVID-19-related scams since the beginning of 2020, resulting in $38.59 million. The average consumer has lost $470.

Scammers have posted fake COVID-19 charities, and impersonated government agencies saying they need your account information to issue stimulus checks.

They've even pretended to sell personal protective equipment, or PPE. One legitimate PPE company had their entire website copied by scammers to fool consumers.

RELATED: Coronavirus warning: How to spot copycat websites selling fake COVID-19 PPE

When shopping online it's always important to use websites with an https URL, not just an http. They are safer than http URLs.

Money Fix Town Hall: Hot Scams & Rip-Offs, Part 2

Watch Part 2 of "Money Fix Town Hall: Hot Scams and Rip-Offs" hosted by ABC7's Jason Knowles.

Scammers have also taken personal information from your social media pages to steal your identity, also known as social engineering.

RELATED: Social media-related scams on the rise as people spend more time online during COVID-19 pandemic

In March, before schools closed, the I-Team warned of phishing emails which could look like they came from your child's school, saying your child was exposed to COVID-19 which was also a ruse to get your persona information.

RELATED: Coronavirus phishing scams pose as CDC, schools to steal personal information, experts warn

If you receive a suspicious email from a school or business, you should always call them directly instead of responding to the email or clicking any link in it.

COVID-19 is giving scammers a new way to take everything from hard-earned cash to identities.