Americans claim to have lost nearly $39 million this year to coronavirus scams, with the average loss coming in at $470.
CNBC cited figures that show more than 52,000 Americans have complained to the Federal Trade Commission about virus-related scams. Roughly 45% said they lost money to the scammers.
Transaction Network Services Chief Product Officer Bill Versen called scammers "ingeniously evil."
"They take topical current events and then weave that into their story to gain your confidence in order to defraud you," he told CNBC.
A common trick scammers use is sending text messages that appear to be from legitimate organizations or government agencies. One scam uses a website that looks like the IRS' website and asks people for personal information using the virus relief payments as bait. Another is a robocall that asks people to enter their banking information in order to receive a $399 refund from a company.
Among CNBC's recommendations to avoid being scammed out of money are to monitor the FTC's website and alert emails for information on the latest scam attempts targeting Americans and block robocalls. We also should not respond to text messages and phone calls from numbers we do not recognize or click on links that we deem suspect, and it is recommended that we tell someone if we're concerned about a possible scam.
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