Americans lost an unprecedented $3.56 billion to online fraud in H1 2022
A recent analysis by Atlas VPN reveals that US citizens lost a record $3.56 billion to various types of online fraud in the first half of 2022, an increase of almost 53% over the same period last year.
Americans submitted more than 793 thousand fraud complaints in the first six months, and over 27% of those reports indicated a financial loss, amounting to the aforementioned total sum.
The data for the analysis was extracted from a publicly accessible database managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). US Citizens can submit fraud reports to the FTC for further investigation. The FTC shares this data to inform the nation about the state of the cybercrime landscape in the US.
This year's most commonly reported scam category was imposter scams, with more than 361 thousand complaints, 22% reporting a loss and totaling $1.33 billion in damages.
Since 2018, imposter fraud has been the most commonly reported as well as the most damaging type of online fraud.
However, in H1 2022, investment-related scams caused even more financial losses to US citizens than imposter fraud.
Even though the number of investment scam complaints is relatively low at 52 thousand, an average investment scheme lures out $40,000 per victim, while other types of scams rarely swindle more than a three-digit sum.
The potential to earn a typical half-year salary from a single scam sounds appetizing to cybercriminals, which is why they are focusing more of their efforts in this direction.
Severity of investment schemes soars
The number of investment scheme complaints increased from 43 thousand in H1 2021 to 52 thousand in H1 2022, yet the most significant shift was not in the number of reports but in the losses incurred from them. Our other research indicates that most incidents in the US are internal.
Investment scheme operators swindled a whopping $1.63 billion from unsuspecting investors in H1, 2022, which is 2.7 times more than in H1, 2021.
Tracking back in time even further, the FTC data shows that losses to investment schemes totaled $143.8 million in H1, 2020. Compared to $1.63 billion this year, the severity of the issue becomes evident.
Fraudsters use global events and breaking news to entice potential investors with the promise of large rewards. It is vital at this time to be attentive to these types of schemes, especially with the rise of new technologies and inventions, such as NFTs.
Uneducated consumers can get swayed by charismatic fraudsters and decide to invest their hard-earned money into a project which might be a complete sham. Usually, investment offers hinge on emerging technologies, which the investor knows little about.
Finally, online shopping and negative reviews ($184M), business and job opportunities ($164M), prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries ($114M) round up the top five fraud types in terms of losses.
FTC refunded over $11.45 billion to financial fraud victims
US military personnel lost over $379 million to scams in the last 5 years
Online fraud complaints in the US could reach a record high of 1 million in 2022