A breakdown of FTC reported frauds
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages all of us to report fraud. Each year they compile a list and crunch the numbers of all reported incidents. The results from 2019 are in. For the full report, click here.
In 2019, over 3 million reports of fraud were sent to the FTC. The most prevalent of these were impostor scams. An impostor scam is a criminal pretending to be someone else. These scams come in the form of phone calls from the IRS; calls pretending to be a sweepstakes, utility company, or credit card company; emails from online retailers like Amazon or Apple support; emails from people claiming to be a family member; or any other of a thousand different variants using fake numbers and phishing emails.
The most frequent scam in 2019 was in the form of phone calls from the Social Security Administration threatening a number of things. Targeting the retired communities, these scams averaged around $1500 per person. Subsequently, the Social Security Administration and the IRS both urge individuals to hang up on these calls. Both agencies assure they’ll never contact you by phone.
Not surprising, phone scams were the most prevalent form of scamming in 2019. The average victim lost around $1000. When it doubt, hang up and do an online search. Make sure the website you’re getting information from is verified and secure.
Reporting a scam
Additionally, the FTC encourages everyone being affected by scammers to file a report. Last year, the FTC was able to help victims recoup around $232 million in lost money due to fraud.
Fraud reports have also helped to shape legislation and legal action. The more reports that come in, the easier it is for law enforcement to identify and investigate the scammers. These investigations lead to changes in policy. In other words, the more investigations, the easier it’ll be for lawmakers to craft legislation that will help stop the fraud.
If you’ve received a scam call or phishing email, you can report it to the FTC to help with this war on fraud.
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