Interviews with a former Nigerian scammer, a victim who lost $248,000 in a crypto romance scam, and Social Catfish Founder David McClellan available who helped identify the perpetrator and is working with law enforcement to recover her funds.
A new study offers an unprecedented look at the growing online scam crisis in America as a record $6.9 billion was lost to online scams in 2021, up from $3.5 billion in 2019. The amount lost has nearly doubled since the start of the global pandemic. Romance, cryptocurrency, and investment scams are skyrocketing and have become very sophisticated. Highly educated people, as well as large corporations, are increasingly being scammed; teens are now losing money at a higher rate than any other age group including seniors; and California — the No. 1 most-scammed state – lost a record $1.2 billion in 2021 up double from $621 million in 2020.
Social Catfish today released its second-annual study on the State of Internet Scams 2022 using data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the FTC released in 2022, and a poll of 3,047 romance scams victims who are among the company’s reverse search users.
5 KEY FINDINGS FROM THE STATE OF INTERNET SCAMS 2022:
- Money Lost to Online Scams Has Doubled Since COVID-19: A record $6.9 billion was lost in 2021, up from $3.5 billion in 2019 per the FBI IC3. The amount lost has nearly doubled since the start of the global pandemic.
- 75% of Romance Scams Victims Are College Educated: There is a misconception victim must be unintelligent. However, 2,305 of the 3,074 victims polled (75%) have some college education, and 13% earned graduate degrees.
- Middle and Lower Class Americans Make up 84% of Romance Scam Victims: The poll found 44% of romance scam victims make less than $100,000 and an additional 40% make less than $40,000 per year. In total, 84% earn less than $100,000.
- Tech-Savvy Teens See Largest Increase in Money Lost: Victims under 20 saw an 1125% increase in money lost to online scams in the last five years, the highest increase of any age group per FBI IC3 reports from 2017 and 2021. Seniors saw a 390% increase during this period.
- Cryptocurrency Scams are Skyrocketing: Scammers hit the jackpot with fake crypto investment scams. A record $1.6 billion was lost to Cryptocurrency scams in 2021, a nearly seven-fold increase from $246 million in 2020 per the FBI’s IC3. Beware that scammers of all stripes often ask to be paid in crypto. Consider it a big red flag.
5 Tips to Avoid Online Scams
- Do not give money to anyone you have never met in person.
- Do not give out personal information if you have never met in person
- Perform a reverse search using photos, emails, phone numbers, and addresses to verify if the person or entity you are speaking to online is who they say they are.
- 5 big red flags include poor grammar, refusing to video chat, being in the military, working overseas, and asking to be paid in gift cards or cryptocurrency.
- Use a password manager to create many passwords so if one has been compromised the rest of your accounts are protected.
Visit the complete State of Internet Scams 2022 study to learn how to avoid every type of scam.