If you were the victim of a scam last year, you certainly were not alone.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that people lost $8.8 billion in scams in 2022 – a whopping $2.6 billion increase over 2021. In total, the FTC took about 2.4 million reports, which was slightly down from the 2.9 million reports a year prior.
Here are some of the biggest wows from the FTC report:
- People lost $3.8 billion in investment scams—with the median loss of $5,000 (yikes!). Interestingly, nearly a quarter of people were contacted for various fraud scams (including investment scams) over text, so be cautious about trusting random messages.
- Impersonator scams were huge in 2023, with one in five people losing money. It was the most reported scam last year, with people losing a combined $2.6 billion!
- Over social media, people were conned out of a total of $1.2 billion. When scammers called, the median loss per person was $1,400—ouch! Reminder: when in doubt, hang up and call back using a number you looked up yourself. Also, be wary of unusual messages over social media that appear to be from a friend.
- Don’t think you’re immune from scams if you’re young. Younger adults reported losing money more often than older adults—but when older adults get scammed, they lose more than any other age group.
What can you do to stay safe?
- Remember that no one legitimate will ever contact you out of the blue with a great money-making opportunity, or demand money or information.
- Don’t trust Caller ID. Scammers know how to fake it so a call looks legitimate. Ask questions and when in doubt, call the person/organization back using a number you looked up yourself.
- Never pay anyone who demands money by wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency. Only scammers tell you to pay those ways!
Check out the FTC data book for yourself—there is definitely a lot of great info in there that will inspire you to stay on your toes. Also, if you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, report it to the FTC.