COVID-19 scams and frauds are a major problem: since the beginning of the pandemic, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has received nearly 250,000 reports of fraud. Consumers have lost over $182 million to COVID-19 scams and frauds, with a median fraud loss of $320. Clearly, there is a need for federal agencies, led by the FTC, to take a more proactive role in protecting consumers from COVID-19 scams and frauds.
The FTC and Health and Human Services (HHS) websites already provide information to help consumers avoid COVID-19 scams, including dashboards detailing COVID-19 scam complaints by state and type. There is no need to put additional strain on the FTC and other federal agencies — which are already under strain due to the ongoing pandemic — by requiring them to do additional work to educate consumers about COVID-19 scams.