According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans lost almost $8.8 billion to various scams in 2022, marking a significant increase of more than 30% compared to the previous year. In 2021, Americans also reported losses of over $5.8 billion to fraud, representing an increase of more than 70% compared to 2020. Throughout the last year, 2.4 million consumers reported losing money to scammers, with most of them falling prey to imposter scams and online shopping scams. The top five fraud categories also included scam reports involving prizes, sweepstakes, lotteries, investments, and business and job opportunities.
The FTC stated that consumers reported losing the most money to investment scams, with losses totaling more than $3.8 billion in 2022, which more than doubled the amount reported lost in 2021. The second-highest reported loss amount came from imposter scams, with losses of $2.6 billion reported, up from $2.4 billion in 2021. The FTC added 5.1 million consumer reports to its secure online database, Consumer Sentinel Network (Sentinel), in 2022, with over 1.1 million reports of identity theft filed through the IdentityTheft.gov website.
The FTC also disclosed last month that nearly 70,000 people had reported record losses of $1.3 billion to romance scams in 2022. However, the FTC noted that these statistics likely represent only a fraction of the actual harm inflicted by romance scammers, as most frauds are never reported. To report fraud attempts, individuals can visit ReportFraud.ftc.gov and file an identity theft report at IdentityTheft.gov. Once included in the Sentinel database, reports will be accessible to approximately 2,800 federal, state, local, and international law enforcement professionals, which can help investigators find the fraudsters and make it easier to discover trends and educate the public.