FTC Issues Warning After Americans Lost $1.1B To Impersonation Scams In 2023

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The Federal Trade Commission is warning the American people to be on guard as threat actors are making use of business and government impersonation scams to do serious damage. The agency is reporting a combined loss of over $1.1 billion in 2023 due to these types of fraud, which is three times as much as what the agency saw in 2020.

The way in which criminals are targeting their victims is changing as time has passed. Back in 2020, the preferred method of scamming someone started with a phone call, but the use of this technique has drastically reduced. It’s now more likely that victims will be contacted with an email or a text message. People’s preference for these methods of communication, especially among younger users, is most likely the driving force behind the change.
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Threat actors have many different types of scams, however, there are a few that dominate the fraud landscape. One is the use of copycat account security alerts that claim a user’s account has unauthorized charges or suspicious activity with a phone number to call the scammers. Another is messages relating to package delivery problems that necessitate paying a fee, which criminals use to steal credit card information. These scams aim to create a sense of urgency for the victim, so they are more likely to provide the information the scammer is looking to obtain.

The agency says there are a few ways for Americans to protect themselves online. First and foremost is simply to not click on links when receiving an unexpected message, and to call a company or agency using a verified phone number. Users should also be extremely weary of any requests to take care of issues using gift cards or Bitcoin, as business or agencies don’t make these types of requests. Lastly, users should take time to think about the situation, as scammers want victims to rush and make mistakes.

It's great that the FTC is making these types of reports to keep the American people informed about online scams. Hopefully people are able to get this information and make use of the helpful tips provided by the agency.
Tags:  security, FTC, scams