Phone scams are most used contact method for fraud
Three states more likely than others for scams to occur
The Federal Trade Commission has released its breakdown of consumer complaints for 2017. It received nearly 2.7 million complaints last year, and 42.5% were fraud reports.
The Top Fraud Categories of 2017
The FTC’s list for 2017 narrows complaints into three primary categories: fraud, identity theft and other. The “other” category came in at No. 1 in terms of the number of reports, but it covers a broad spectrum. Fraud outpaced identity theft by about a 3-to-1 margin.
Here are the top five ways scammers are trying to get your money.
1. Imposter Scams
People posing as government officials, tech support or even loved ones in desperate trouble snatched a reported $328 million from trusting people last year. The FTC received about 350,000 reports of imposter scams, with the median loss around $500.
2. Telephone and Mobile Services
Almost 150,000 people reported phone-related fraud. This included everything from illegal charges on their accounts, to scams involving text messages and even apps. The median loss was $223, but accounted for $17 million in total losses.
3. Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries
A new generation of people are falling for this, even if older citizens continue to feed the fraudsters. Best advice is if you receive an email or a phone call indicting that you’re the winner of some lottery you’ve never entered or even heard of, it’s a fraud. Don’t wire money to anyone to receive winnings. In 2017, 142,870 people reported falling for such scams, and the median loss was $511.
4. Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales
For 126,387 consumers, they lost an average of $261 each when they didn’t get what they paid for.
5. Internet Services:
Internet service fraud came in at No. 5, with 45,093 people filing complaints. Phishing scams, malware, gaming scams and social media scams all played a part here. The median loss was $183 for a total of $19 million dollars wasted.
FTC Reported These Shocking Things About Scams in 2017
Interesting things to note from the 2017 FTC report:
Scammers Target the Inexperienced
A higher number of younger people reported losses to fraud than older people. A troubling 40% of reported cases were from people ages 20 to 29. However, those over the age of 70 who reported losses to fraud lost a lot more money on average.
A Ring-a-Dingy Can Be Disastrous
The No. 1 tool for fraud is the telephone or cell phone. Over 70% of all fraud reports in 2017 were from phone scams.
Wire Transfer Requests Should Be Red Flags
The No. 1 way scammers will ask you to send money is by wire transfer. This should be your first clue you are being defrauded.
The 3 States Where Residents Were Most Likely to Report Fraud
Based on number of reports per 100,000 residents, Florida, Georgia and Nevada were the top states for fraud.