Consumer First Alert: Coronavirus-related phone calls scamming millions of dollars from people

Published: Apr. 5, 2020 at 11:34 AM CDT
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Scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic to trick people, and sadly, it's working.

from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it says thousand of people are losing millions of dollars due to scams.

Last week, we told you about the growing number of coronavirus related scams, and now, we're getting a look at the cost.


In a new report from the FTC, it says there have been 9,900 complaints in the last three months, with more than $6.8 million lost.

This has happened from the beginning of the year right up to the beginning of April, with 43% of people filing these complaints losing money.

The FTC is getting fraud complaints coming in about travel, online sales, fake tests, cures and new versions of scam calls.

One of the scam calls discusses medicare, and says the following:

"Thank you for calling coronavirus hotline, because of the limited testing, we are first taking medicare members, we are the free at home testing just you or for you and your spouse."

Scammers know many people are out of work right now, and could be struggling to pay bills.

Another type of scam calls claims to help with your mortgage:

"Hello, due to the coronavirus mortgage interest rates have dropped at an all time low, you may be able to benefit from updated modification and refinanced programs, for more information press 5 to speak to a live agent, press 3 to remove from our calling list."

Yet a third type of call claims to deliver cleaning supplies that are in high demand:

"Due to coronavirus outbreak, we deliver a wide range of sanitizers, hand wash, toilet papers and face masks at your door step to safeguard you and your family from coronavirus. No need to visit stores. Get delivery in 24 hours."

Officials say you don't want to respond to these calls, and to not press any numbers, since it may actually lead to more robocalls.

Instead, you should hang up.

The BBB of Wisconsin says there is also phony text messages, saying you must take a mandatory online COVID-19 test.

The message looks like it comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and has a link to a fake website.

Officials say there is not online test for the coronavirus, and you should ignore instructions to test "Stop or No" to prevent future text messages.

Scammers use this to confirm they have a real, and active, number.

FTC officials also remind everyone to let loved ones know about the Grandparent Scams, which can take a new sense of urgency with the coronavirus.

Those scams are fake calls from loved ones who say they're sick and need money.