Scam Report

The Top Frauds in 2019

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The Top Frauds in 2019
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Each year, the FTC takes a hard look at the number of reports people make to their Consumer Sentinel Network.

In fact, during 2019, they received more than 3.2 million reports from consumers. The following are the biggest scams and frauds reported in 2019.
 

Imposter Scams

Imposter scams were the number one fraud reported to Sentinel in 2019. People reported losing more than $667 million to imposters, who often pretended to be calling from the government or a well-known business, a romantic interest, or a family member with an emergency.

When people lost money, they most frequently reported paying scammers with a gift card.
 

Social Security Scams

Social Security imposters were the top government imposter scam reported. There were 166,190 reports about the Social Security scam, and the median individual loss was $1,500.
 

Phone Calls

Phone calls were the number one way people reported being contacted by scammers. While most people said they hung up on those calls, those who lost money reported a median loss of $1,000 in 2019.

You might wonder what, besides these numbers, comes out of reporting scams and other consumer issues to the FTC.

As a result of your reports, the FTC and its law enforcement partners are able to investigate the people and companies that trick people into paying money. Your reports help them build and bring those cases, which also helps enforce laws that stop scams and other dishonest business practices that take people’s money.

In fact, during 2019, FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to people who lost money. More than 1.9 million people cashed checks mailed by the FTC. And, in the last four years, people have cashed more than one billion dollars in FTC refund checks. That’s real money back into people’s pockets.

So if you’ve spotted a scam, keep telling us about it at ftc.gov/complaint. If you need more information about these top frauds, visit ftc.gov/imposters, and ftc.gov/giftcards.

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