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Coronavirus scams have cost consumers nearly $12 million, FTC says

Scammers are feeding off public fears around the coronavirus pandemic.

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The coronavirus outbreak has led to a flood of fraud complaints.

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The US Federal Trade Commission on Friday said it has received more than 15,000 fraud complaints related to the coronavirus outbreak since the beginning of the year. The latest data from the federal agency shows consumers have already lost nearly $12 million to COVID-19 scams

Watch this: Here's how scammers are using the coronavirus to cash in

Last week, the FTC warned that it was seeing a surge in complaints related to the coronavirus. These scams range from travel and vacation refund and cancellation deceptions to mobile texting scams and to scammers posing as the government.

The Justice Department has also asked the public to report any suspected fraud schemes related to the coronavirus so officials can snuff out scams more quickly.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has rapidly spread across the globe. The World Health Organization on March 11 declared the outbreak a pandemic. There are now over 1.6 million confirmed cases globally, with more than 466,000 in the US as of Friday.

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