Personal Finance

Robocalls are spiking as fraudsters prey on Covid-19 fears

Key Points
  • Among the most common robocalls related to the coronavirus are those claiming to provide treatment, financial relief and free Covid-19 testing, according to a survey of about 4,000 people.
  • Americans already have lost north of $13.4 million to coronavirus-related scams so far this year. 
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Add robocalls to scammers' methods of capitalizing on the coronavirus crisis.

As Americans adjust to life in the midst of a global pandemic, roughly a quarter of individuals say they've experienced an increase in robocalls and about 20% have received a call or text regarding the illness, according to a survey from Provision Living, a retirement community company.

The survey of 4,000 people comes as fraud related to the coronavirus takes a toll on consumers, with Americans losing more than $13.4 million to such scams so far this year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. 

This FBI agent works from home battling COVID-19 scams

The most common robocalls related to the virus are those claiming to provide treatment (22%), financial relief (18%) and free Covid-19 testing (18%), according to the Provision Living report. Another 15% said they'd received a robocall call or text regarding their stimulus check from a scammer claiming to be from the IRS.

Older Americans tend to be the hardest-hit when it comes to scam robocalls, the report says. In general, the most common types of robocalls are those claiming to be with the Social Security Administration (39%), the IRS (38%), travel companies (36%) and debt collectors (33%), according to the survey.

More than a third of respondents said they've lost their temper and swore or yelled at a robocaller.

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