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3rd Annual Study: Online Scammers Break $10 Billion Barrier For First-Time

August 2023 by

A new study shows online scammers have broken the $10 billion mark for the first-time ever. A record $10.3 billion was stolen in the U.S. in 2022 – more than the GDP of 66 countries – and up from $6.9 billion the year prior.

America is the most-scammed country in the world due to its affluence and reliance on technology. Since most victims send money to foreign fraudsters, U.S. law enforcement has no jurisdiction, and the overwhelming majority of money does not get recovered. That is why it is critical to avoid scams before they occur.

Social Catfish – a reverse image search company — today released its third annual study: The State of Online Scams 2023.

The 31-page study includes FBI and FTC data released in 2023, a poll of 5,500 online scam victims conducted in June and is meant to serve as a comprehensive resource to avoid online scams.

California is the No. 1 most-scammed state with 80,766 victims losing $2 billion, while Georgia and Alabama made the top 10 for the first time.

Key Findings:

Crypto Accounts for Nearly 25% of All Losses: The unprecedented losses in 2022 was fueled by a record $2.57 billion in crypto scams.

Only 4.2% of Stolen Funds Recovered: The FBI IC3 Recovery Asset Team recovered $433 million, or 4.2%, of the total $10.3 billion lost. They recovered 73% of money lost to domestic fraudsters.

U.S. No. 1 Most-Scammed Country: U.S. (466,501 victims), UK (284,291), all other countries had fewer than 6,000 victims.

Teens See Largest Increase in Money Lost: Victims 20 and under saw a 107% increase in money lost from 2021-2022, the largest among all age groups.

10 Most-Scammed States: California, Florida, New York, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Arizona.

81% of Romance Scam Victims Too Ashamed to File a Report: Among the 5,500 victims polled, 81% said they were too embarrassed to file a formal report with the FBI or FTC at the time.

5 Tips to Avoid Online Scams in 2023

Never Give Money: Or personal information to anyone you have never met in person.

Confirm Their Identity: Perform a reverse image search to confirm they are who they say they are.

Do Not Invest: Without consulting a trusted financial advisor and doing thorough research.

Red Flags: Poor grammar, refusing to video chat, and seeking payment in gift cards or crypto.

Be Careful with Crypto: Be skeptical of all things crypto and only use reputable exchanges.

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