Coronavirus-related consumer complaints on rise

Coronavirus-related consumer complaints on rise
FILE: There have been more than 9,200 coronavirus-related complaints reported to the FTC nationwide since the beginning of the year. (PHOTO: Handout)

WASHINGTON — Coronavirus-related consumer complaints are on the rise and the Federal Trade Commission expects the reports to keep increasing throughout the pandemic.

The average amount lost has been $580 a person.

There have been more than 9,200 coronavirus-related complaints reported to the FTC nationwide since the beginning of the year.

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"The numbers are definitely on the rise,” Emma Fletcher, a program analyst for the FTC, said. "I would expect that the numbers will continue to grow. We're monitoring reports every day on this topic and every day we see growth."

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More than 1,500 complaints were about travel- and vacation-related issues with so many people have to make cancellations or adjustments.

More than 900 were related to online shopping.

Fletcher said in many cases scammers are tricking people into thinking they are selling products in high demand and short supply like face masks.

"If they're selling a product that you just can't get anywhere, and they somehow have it, that's potentially a red flag that you should be very careful and fully check them out before you order anything,” Fletcher said.

In total, people have reported more than $6 million in losses so far from coronavirus-related scams.

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