April 30, 2024

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released data indicating that consumers reported losing over $10 billion to fraud in 2023. According to the FTC, consumers lost 14% more in 2023 than in 2022, becoming the highest amount lost to fraud thus far. The FTC revealed investment scams saw the most losses at over $4.6 billion for 2023. This loss is 21% more than 2022’s investment scam losses.

Imposter scams resulted in the second largest losses, with individuals losing $2.7 billion. Fraud also proved a significant problem, especially with online shopping, sweepstakes, and job opportunity scams. Due to the many complaints, the FTC has taken several steps in discovering and stopping consumer fraud.

One significant effort the FTC made involved joining with over 100 federal and state law enforcement partners nationwide. This partnership intends to reduce the number of illegal telemarketing calls through Operation Stop Scam Calls, involving over 180 actions that target operations responsible for many of the calls to consumers in the United States.

The FTC also proposed a ban on imposter fraud. The Commission is in the final stages of the rulemaking process, targeting government and business impersonation scams. The FTC also brought several cases against business and investment opportunity schemes. Additionally, the FTC has listened to consumers concerning new forms of fraud in hopes of developing tools to fight them.

The FTC also has a Consumer Sentinel Network database. It uses this database to receive reports from consumers, the Better Business Bureau, industry members, non-profit organizations, and law enforcement agencies. The reports include fraud, identity theft, and complaints concerning other consumer issues. The Commission uses the reports for many of its own law enforcement investigations and shares them with law enforcement professionals. 

Although the FTC is trying to protect consumers from fraud, consumers should also take steps to protect themselves. Some steps consumers can take include the following:

  • Protect your personal information, including your Social Security number and account numbers;
  • Use strong passwords;
  • Only open emails from people you know;
  • Monitor your bank statements and credit card statements

These are just a few steps consumers can take to protect themselves. However, consumers must understand that they can become victims without realizing anything went wrong. Anyone suspicious of identity theft or other issues should report their concerns to law enforcement. They should also inform the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov. Another step consumers can take is running a self-background check. Self-checks help consumers find errors in their reports, discover new accounts opened in their name, and identify other fraudulent cases that can harm a person’s reputation.

Click here to run a self background check