Getting scammed is more common than you think – and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported an increase in losses this year despite a similar number of reports in 2022.

In total, the FTC shared that people lost a staggering $10 billion to scams in 2023, noting a $1 billion increase from 2022 and the highest ever in reported losses.

Even though the number of reports (2.6 million) was roughly the same as previous years, an average of one in four people reported losing money to scams with a median loss of $500 per person.

Check out some of the key takeaways from the 2023 report:

  • Social media scams accounted for the highest overall reported losses with $1.4 billion. Scams over the phone caused the highest per-person loss at an average $1,480. Rule of thumb: If you don’t know who’s contacting you, be wary of trusting their requests and providing secure information.
  • Imposter scams remained the top fraud category with losses nearing $2.7 billion. It’s important to always stay aware – people can pretend to be your bank, the government, even a relative in need. Learn more about romance scams, Amazon impersonators, and government imposters.
  • Not even your age can protect you from scams. Ironically, younger adults (20-29) reported losing money more often than older adults (70+). However, when older adults got scammed, they lost the most.
  • Losses to investment scams grew to $4.6 billion – a sharp increase from $3.8 billion in 2022. Scammers enticed victims to pay most frequently via bank transfers and payments, with cryptocurrency not far behind. The takeaway? Never pay with crypto and always think twice (or three times) before jumping on an offer that seems too good to be true (it probably is!)
  • In terms of identity theft, the FTC received over 400,000 reports of credit card misuse in 2023. Be aware of your surroundings when using your credit card in public and report a lost or stolen card immediately.

Tips to avoid future scams:

  • Don’t provide any personal or financial information in response to a request you weren’t expecting. Trusted organizations and businesses will not call, text, or DM asking for secure information like bank accounts or Social Security numbers.
  • Think twice about messages referencing a problem or a prize. Scammers will often use problems with existing accounts or lies about sweepstakes to con you out of money or information.
  • Resist demands to act quickly or make payments up front. Again, reputable businesses will allow time for decisions and payments. Anyone who pressures you into sharing funds or information is a scammer.
  • Be aware of how scammers ask to receive payments. Never pay someone through wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or gift cards.

If you were a victim of a scam or witnessed a scam, report it to the FTC. Take time to look over the full FTC data book for a deeper dive into the top fraud reports for your state.

Written by Celia Reid, TDS Communications Intern

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