US consumers lost more than $10bn billion to fraud in 2023, a record high and up by 14% y-o-y. Consumers reported losing more money to investment scams—more than $4.6bn—than any other category in 2023. That amount represents a 21% increase over 2022. The second highest reported loss amount came from imposter scams with losses of nearly $2.7bn. In 2023, consumers reported losing more money to bank transfers and cryptocurrency than all other methods combined.

“Digital tools are making it easier than ever to target hard-working Americans. We see the effects of that in the data we’re releasing today,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is working hard to take action against those scams.”

The FTC received fraud reports from 2.6 million consumers last year, nearly the same amount as 2022. The most commonly reported scam category was imposter scams. There is an increase in reports of both business and government impersonators.

Email displaces text messages as the most common method used by scammers

Online shopping issues were the second most commonly reported in the fraud category. These rank ahead of prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries; investment-related reports; and business and job opportunity scams.

Another first is the method scammers reportedly used to reach consumers most commonly in 2023: email. Email displaced text messages, which held the top spot in 2022 after decades of phone calls being the most common. Phone calls are the second most commonly reported contact method for fraud in 2023, followed by text messages.

The FTC says that it is taking a comprehensive approach to detect, halt, and deter consumer fraud. For example, it is leading the largest-ever crackdown on illegal telemarketing. In addition, it is in the final stages of a rulemaking proves to target impersonator fraud. It is also cracking down on investment schemes. And it is confronting emerging forms of fraud.

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