New data from the US Federal Trade Commission (opens in new tab) (FTC) has revealed the astonishing scale of scams across America that caused billions in losses last year.
In 2022, the FTC reported $8.8 billion in losses due to fraud, an increase of more than 30% from the previous year.
The report shares insights into the most common types of fraud to help protect consumers. Despite fewer reports of fraudulent activity last year compared to 2021, financial losses have increased significantly.
Scams are on the rise
The most popular form of fraud reported last year was scammer fraud, where malicious people pretend to be someone they are not to extort money from unsuspecting vulnerable consumers.
Other popular scams according to the 2.4 million cases reported were online shopping; prizes, sweepstakes and raffles; investments; and business and employment opportunities.
The hardest hit type according to financial losses was investment scams, probably due in part to its success due to the tough economic situation that saw many people trying to make more money. Losses amounted to $3.8 billion, with less than half of those coming in 2021 ($1.8 billion), meaning the growing form of fraud accounted for more than 43% of losses last year.
In addition to scams, the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network received more than 5.1 million reports last year, including fraud, identity theft reports and other consumer issues.
Data is entered into the Sentinel by consumers; federal, state and local law enforcement agencies; the Better Business agency; industry members; and nonprofits from 23 US states, suggesting the US-wide figure could be double that.
The FTC advises consumers to remain vigilant and step up their protections where necessary. It also urges victims to report any activity ReportFraud.ftc.gov (opens in new tab)to keep the Commission informed of future trends so that it can adapt accordingly.