Phishing emails, IRS impersonator calls, fake bank wire instructions. The list of methods to commit fraud or scam people out of their money has exploded! Scammers and fraudsters are brilliant at using technology to reach more victims. They even use online dating to commit “romance scams” and extract funds from mostly older Americans seeking companionship.
And those fraud methods sure are working! In 2020, identity fraud and other related scams cost American consumers a total of about $56 billion, impacting about 49 million victims. That’s according to data from the 2021 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research released back in March. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that romance scams were the costliest to older Americans, who suffered almost $84 million in financial losses in 2020.
What should you do if you are, or think you may be a victim of fraud, scam, or unscrupulous business practices? The FTC has a dedicated website for victims to file a report and obtain guidance with “next steps” based on the type of scam.
Check it out at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/. Here’s how it works:
What can I report?
The FTC recommends that consumers report any action or experience that they think might be a fraud, scam, or unscrupulous business practice. Fraud and scams related to COVID-19 are rampant these days. FTC has more information about how to decide whether to report your experience at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/.
I’m not sure if it’s a scam or fraud — should I still report it?
Absolutely! If your experience feels wrong, even if it’s minimal, the FTC wants to know about it. Reporting fraud or potential fraud gives the FTC and its 3,000 law enforcement partners valuable information to spot patterns and enforce the law. The website also allows consumers to update and track reported fraud cases.
Can I file a report if I don’t live in the U.S.?
Yes! Report your experience on https://econsumer.gov/#crnt. This site shares your reported information with the FTC. In addition, it partners with 35+ consumer protection agencies across the world to identify trends and prevent scams. The site is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Polish, and Turkish.
Methods to commit frauds and scams have exploded. Fraudsters used technology to steal over $56 billion in 2020 alone. If you are, or think that you may have been, a fraud victim, make sure that you report it to the FTC. Your action makes a difference by helping 3,000+ law enforcers spot problems and patterns. Learn more about scams, how to submit a report, and how the FTC works to stop them at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/.