Fraudsters stole more than $1B from Americans in 2018

By Personal FinanceFOXBusiness

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More Americans reported losing money to fraud and scams in 2018 when compared with the year prior.

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in a recent report that it received 3 million consumer complaints, including more than 1.4 million fraud reports – with people claiming to have lost money in about one-quarter of those reports.

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Overall, Americans reported losing $1.48 billion – an increase of nearly 40 percent when compared with 2017.

Surprisingly, it was younger individuals that reported losing money to scammers at a higher rate. Of the people who reported fraud and their age, 43 percent were in their 20s, while only 15 percent were in their 70s, according to the FTC. It is possible that younger people were more likely to report fraud, a fact not addressed by the report.

Amounts reported stolen tended to vary by age: When those ages 70 and over lost money, the median value was $751, compared with a median of $400 for people in their 20s. The median was even higher for those at least 80 years old – at a whopping $1,700.

The top reported cases were imposter scams – where the fraudster pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send money – debt collection and identity theft.

When it comes to the preferred method of stealing money, $423 million was taken by wire transfer, the most of any method. The FTC, however, saw a 95 percent increase in payments with gift and reload cards.

The top three states for fraud and other related reports (per 100K population) were Florida, Georgia and Nevada. For identity theft reports – Georgia, Nevada and California.

The lowest number of identity theft reports (per 100K population) were found in Vermont, Iowa, South Dakota and Maine.

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In a bit of good news, tax-related identity theft reports were down 38 percent in 2018 when compared with the year prior. On the flip side, credit card fraud rose by nearly 25 percent – the highest reported instance of identity theft last year.

If you think you have been the victim of fraud, you can file a complaint with the FTC.