Paul Bischoff TECH WRITER, PRIVACY ADVOCATE AND VPN EXPERT
 

In 2019, over 3.8 million Americans were victims of fraud and scams. Fast-forward to 2020 and the global pandemic and these figures have risen by over 25 percent with 4.77 million Americans being victims of fraud and scams in 2020 alone.

Of the figures that are reported, we also know that $5.1 million was lost to these scams in 2019, before increasing by 37 percent to $7 million in 2020. But with a large chunk of scams not having a $ figure attached to them, and scams being vastly underreported, these figures are likely much higher.

What’s also interesting is how the types of frauds and scams taking place changed from 2019 to 2020.

Our team of researchers explored data from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and the Finance Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to find out just how the pandemic has altered fraud and scams across America.

Key findings:

– 2,523,800 Americans lost $5,142,248,313 to fraud and scams in 2019

– A further 1,282,531 Suspicious Activity Reports were filed to FinCEN for “cyber events” or “scams” in 2019 = 3,860,331 victims of fraud and scams in 2019

– 3,355,555 Americans lost $7,017,577,961 to fraud and scams in 2020

– A further 1,416,005 Suspicious Activity Reports were filed to FinCEN for “cyber events” or “scams” in 2020 = 4,771,560 victims of fraud and scams in 2019

– This is a 25 percent year-on-year increase in victims and a 36.5 percent year-on-year increase in $ amounts lost

– Identity theft, online shopping, healthcare, and employment/business-related scams saw some of the biggest increases from 2019 to 2020

Due to FinCEN not providing figures on the $ amounts lost to Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), these figures have been omitted from our overall totals when comparing dollar amounts lost. But they have been included in our victim counts.

However, in one report regarding SARs related to elder financial exploitation, it was stated that the average loss across all reports was $16,700. While only 80 percent of elder financial exploitation cases resulted in a loss, this still suggests an astronomical loss across these SARs. For example, if we base the losses on the aforementioned 80% of cases resulting in a loss of $16,700, that would put the loss to SARs at $17.1 billion in 2019 and $18.9 billion in 2020.

Read the full report here: https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/us-internet-scams/