covid fraud computerAmongst the various unexpected consequences of the pandemic, the last 16 months have ushered in an increased wave and new level of sophistication of fraud schemes, as well as adaptions to the traditional modus operandi of perpetrators, including the expanded use of technology and digital means as a favored medium during the period of social distancing and quarantine.

As of June 3, the FTC had logged nearly 536,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments, more than 71% of them involving fraud or identity theft, with an estimated cost of more than $464 million in losses. In 2020, the number of fraud, identity theft, and other related reports to the FTC increased more than 45% from approximately 3.12 million to 4.72 million, and reported losses from fraud grew from $1.8 billion in 2019 to more than $3.3 billion in 2020.