The COVID-19 pandemic has created many changes for consumers in the last twelve months. Many of us are working or taking classes from home, making fewer trips to stores and having far fewer personal interactions with others. The pandemic has even changed the messaging scammers use to robocall and robotext us.
This National Consumer Protection Week (February 28 – March 6, 2021), the FCC is highlighting content that we created in response to the evolving pandemic-related tactics fraudsters have deployed to steal money and personal information from consumers. You can find it at fcc.gov/covid-scams.
We have articles highlighting vaccine scams and package-delivery text message scams, with sample texts and audio from actual scam calls. You can also find tips to avoid peer-to-peer payment scams, a novel way that scammers are conning victims from afar. Beyond scam information, the webpage also includes resources about home internet optimization, phone sanitization, video conference security, and more.
For the FCC, the pandemic has also meant shifting from in-person outreach events to virtual engagement. We recently joined with the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S Postal Inspection Service for a consumer webinar on COVID-19 scams. And just last week (Feb. 23), we hosted a webinar with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living to help older adults avoid coronavirus vaccination scams.
In addition to educating consumers, the FCC has been working on policies that allow phone companies to block illegal robocalls and ensure that government agencies and law enforcement get the information they need to better stop illegal calls at their source. You can learn more in our Consumer Guide on Call Blocking Tools and Resources.
Visit our Consumer Help Center for links to these resources and many others, including the FCC Scam Glossary and Consumer Complaint Center. We hope you’ll come back frequently to explore new consumer resources and find out about the latest scams.