Reports of fraud and unreceived merchandise purchased online increased dramatically during the pandemic, according to new data released by the Federal Trade Commission, far surpassing the numbers seen during the most recent holiday shopping season. In April and May, the FTC received more than 34,000 online shopping-related complaints, with more than 18,000 related to items that were ordered but never delivered. The FTC noted that “scammers often used pandemic-related pretexts for supposed shipping delays,” with some even charging extra fees due to COVID-19, only to stop responding to consumers.
Online shopping complaints have been steadily on the rise in recent years, with consumers reporting losses totaling $420 million since 2015. More than 86,000 complaints were received by the FTC in 2019 alone, up 38% from the year prior.
To help safeguard consumers and their money, ABA offers several tips sheets on aba.com to guard against a wide range of fraud—including COVID-19 scams—and stay safe while shopping online.