FTC reveals alarming increase in scam activity, costing consumers billions
Newly released Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data shows that consumers reported losing nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, an increase of more than 30 percent over the previous year.
Losing money to investment and imposter scams
Consumers reported losing more money to investment scams – more than $3.8 billion—than any other category in 2022. That amount more than doubles 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 received fraud reports from 2.4 million consumers last year, with the most commonly reported being imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams. Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries; investment-related reports; and business and job opportunities rounded out the top five fraud categories.
FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network
The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network is a database that receives reports directly from consumers, as well as from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the Better Business Bureau, industry members, and non-profit organizations. Twenty-three states contribute data to Sentinel.
Sentinel received more than 5.1 million reports in 2022; these include the fraud reports detailed above, as well as identity theft reports and complaints related to other consumer issues, such as problems with credit bureaus and banks and lenders. In 2022, there were over 1.1 million reports of identity theft received through the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website.
The FTC uses the reports it receives through the Sentinel network as the starting point for many of its law enforcement investigations. The agency also shares these reports with approximately 2,800 federal, state, local, and international law enforcement professionals. While the FTC does not intervene in individual complaints, Sentinel reports are a vital part of the agency’s law enforcement mission.