(NEWS10) — The pandemic economy has left many people vulnerable to fraud, and a survey from January to May by Expert Insurance Reviews found Massachusetts to be the worst state for COVID-fraud. New York tied for 10th with Maryland.
The rankings come from analyzing FTC and Census data to identify how often people filed complaints in each state, how much Americans have lost, and the most frequent kind of scams.
While coronavirus-related fraud impacts Americans far and wide, those in Massachusetts complain of scams more than in other states. Major findings from January to May:
- The FTC registered over 34,000 fraud complaints
- The 11 worst states for coronavirus fraud averaged 1,012 complaints
- Massachusetts had 2.3 COVID fraud complaints per 10,000 people
- New York had 1.3 COVID fraud complaints per 10,000 people
- Rhode Island and New Jersey had about 1.4 per, and Vermont had about .9
- North Dakota and South Dakota were the lowest, with below half a complaint per 10,000
- Americans lost over $5 million to COVID-related credit card fraud
The methods scammers use are not new. Officials are increasingly warning citizens not to let their guard down and verify claims, because fraudsters target the innocent and financially desperate.
One Massachusetts man conspired with a Rhode Island man to get money from the small business assistance program. Police in New York have nabbed a YouTuber selling fake test kits and a fraudster who stockpiled medical supplies for marked-up sales, both of whom face fines and jail time.
The attorney general has told Massachusetts hospitals in particular to beware price gouging and hoarding scams. Massachusetts fraudsters go door-to-door selling fake cures and vaccines, and cybercrime scams people out of money even while quarantined.
Massachusetts logged 1,613 complaints about imposter fraud, malware scams, fake vaccines, identity theft, veteran scams, and fake health care products, are divided into four major categories:
- Fraud attempts: 1,206
- Identity theft attempts: 31
- Do-not-call scams: 55
- Other: 321
New York’s 2,460 complaints, the only state in the country with more fraud complaints to the FTC than Massachusetts:
- Fraud attempts: 1,296
- Identity theft attempts: 193
- Do-not-call scams: 137
- Other: 834