COLORADO SPRINGS — A new consumer alert from the Federal Trade Commission shows consumers lost a record amount of money to fraud and scams last year. Local experts say consumer scam reporting has provided some metrics that can help shape consumer protection efforts going forward.
The alert says people reported losing $10 billion to fraud and scams in 2023. It’s reportedly a record, $1 billion more than 2022.
The FTC data shows these are the top scams from last year:
1. Imposter scams
2. Online shopping and reviews scams
3. Sweepstakes scams
4. Investment scams
5. Job scams
The most reported by consumers were imposter scams. These included reports of people pretending to be bank fraud departments, the government, a relative in distress, a well-known business, or a technical support expert, in order to steal money and information were the most common schemes. The consumer alert also noted, email was the number one way scammers reportedly connected with their victims.
Local cybersecurity researcher Dr. Erik Huffman says it’s an example of why we as consumers need to be more guarded about who we share our information with.
”To make your email a place where you can receive good information," said Dr. Huffman. "If your email has lost the value of it, maybe you need to restart and think about who you’re giving that information to so that your email has value, your phone when it rings has value, the text messages you receive all have value. Because you’re thinking about who you’re going to receive information from.”
The report shows fraudsters reached out to their victims through email, phone calls, and social media most often. These are all things you can access through your cell phone– it’s why fraud experts are expecting text messages will also play a huge role in helping launch scams going forward.
”Last year in December alone there were over 12 billion robotexts," said "Dr. Fraud" J. Michael Skiba from CSU Global. "The robotexts concern me more because what we’re finding is that’s an area scammers are targeting more and they are using more advanced tactics on text.”
Another trend in last year’s scam reporting, The FTC notes people in their 20s who filed complaints actually lost money more often than seniors, but when people over the age of 70 lost money, they lost the most.
Want to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your communities from scams? Go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov to report fraud. Reports like yours help law enforcement take action with education and enforcement. By reporting what you see and experience, you can help protect your community.
To check out the full data book provided by the FTC through this consumer alert:
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