May 16, 2024 | Allison Robertson

The Top Financial Scams of 2023


How much did consumers lose to scams in 2023?

As scams become increasingly sophisticated, with all the tactics technology can offer, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of evolving threats.

By learning about past scams, we can hopefully be better prepared for future ones.

Financial Scams Of 2023 Split

Advertisement

Recent Data

In this article, we highlight the top scams of 2023 with financial statistics, most commonly used methods, real-life scam examples, and what to do in certain instances.

Advertisement

The following information has been provided by the FTC, and is up-to-date as of February 2024.

People's Hands Pointing to a Laptop with ChartsKampus Production, Pexels

Advertisement

Who is the FTC?

Every year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—a federal agency that enforces federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud—shares information collected about scams reported by consumers.

Printed Document in Close-upRDNE Stock project, Pexels

Advertisement

The FTC Data Book

Recent data from the FTC tells us that people lost a whopping $10 billion to scams in 2023 alone, which is $1 billion more than in 2022 and the highest reported losses to the FTC.

Advertisement

Woman is crying and counting moneyKarolina Grabowska, Pexels

Advertisement

Financial Scam Stats

One in four people reported losing money to scams, with a median loss of $500 per person.

Report Chart on a ClipboardAntoni Shkraba, Pexels

Advertisement

Most Common Contact Method

E-mail was said to be the number one contact method for scammers in 2023, especially when scammers pretended to be a business of government agency.

There was a total of 358,000 reports of e-mail fraud in 2023.

Advertisement

The Kids of Helicopter ParentsFlickr, Nenad Stojkovic

Advertisement

Imposter Scams

Imposter scams remained the top fraud category, with reported losses of $2.7 billion. These scams include people pretending to be your bank’s fraud department, the government, a relative in distress, a well-known business, or a technical support expert.

Man Wearing Brown Leather Jacket Holding SmartphoneEnoch Patro, Pexels

Advertisement

Investment Scams

Investment scams came in fourth in terms of most-reported fraud categories, but losses in this category grew.

Advertisement

People reported median losses of $7.7 thousand—up from $5 thousand in 2022.

Businessman giving contract to woman to signAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Advertisement

Social Media Scams

According to the FTC, scams that started on social media accounted for the highest total losses at $1.4 billion—an increase of 250 million from 2022.

My Date Turned Out To Be PsychoUnsplash, Elisa Ventur

Advertisement

Phone Scams

Scams that started by a phone call caused the highest per-person loss, with an average of $1,480.

Advertisement

Man at phone in officeAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Advertisement

Payment Methods

Most scammers preferred their victims pay through bank transfers and bank payments, which accounted for the highest losses ($1.86 billion).

Cryptocurrency came in second with $1.41 billion reported in losses, and wire transfers took third with $343.7 million losses.

Close-Up Shot of Two People Holding a Crypto CoinRDNE Stock project, Pexels

Advertisement

Losses by Age

Of those who reported their age, younger adults between 20-29 years old reported losing money more often than older adults aged 70+.

Advertisement

However, when older adults lost money, they lost the most.

Sad girl with a laptopAndrea Piacquadio , Pexels

Advertisement

Top Five Categories

The top five fraud categories include:

  • Imposters
  • Online Shopping and Negative Reviews
  • Prizes, Sweepstakes, Lotteries
  • Investments
  • Business and Job Opportunities

Person Using Black And White Smartphone and holding a CardPhotoMIX Company, Pexels

Advertisement

Other Common Scam Methods

Scammers today use various methods for reaching unsuspecting consumers. With technology evolving, there is numerous ways to scammers to reach out.

Advertisement

Text messages, phone calls, e-mails, social media direct messages are all common avenues for dishonest people.

A Man is making Online ShoppingKindel Media, Pexels

Advertisement

What To Watch For

The most common mistake people make is clicking links. Before you click any link, stop and look into it first.

Clicking a phishing link can transmit basic information like your location and device stats, redirect you to a fake website, or download malware.

Advertisement

A Man Using his Smart PhoneMizuno K, Pexels

Advertisement

When In Doubt, Call

If you are ever unsure of the legitimacy of an e-mail, message, or link—call the agency. Do not call the number in the e-mail. Use a search engine and find a credible source that provides a contact, and then call and ask if the message you received is indeed legitimate.

Advertisement

Senior man is talking on the telephone from the kitchenRon Lach , Pexels

Advertisement

Don’t Engage

Many people will receive random text messages, e-mails, or direct messages with general scam tactics. If you are aware that it is possibly a scam, simply do not engage.

Report it, and delete. Do not click links and do not message back.

DELETE button on laptopAlexey Kuznetsov, Flickr

Advertisement

Protect Your Personal Information

Before you enter personal information on a website, email, or text chain, stop.

Advertisement

Ask yourself: Why do they need this information? And what’s going to happen to it?

Also, remember to never share your Social Security number with someone who reaches out to you.

Man in suit is seating on his desk and thinkingMoose Photos, Pexels

Advertisement

Newer Scams

Specific scams that are becoming more popular in recent years include fake overdue toll charges and scammers looking to profit from Midwest tornadoes.

Be extra mindful when you are contacted regarding these topics.

Advertisement

Shocked man in office looking at his computerMelnikov Dmitriy, Shutterstock

Advertisement

Classic Scams

If you come across any of these typical pitch lines, be careful—there’s likely to be some element of a scam involved:

  • It’s your lucky day! You won!
  • Burn fat while you sleep!
  • Free cash grants! Never Repay!
  • This free seminar can change your life!
    Advertisement

  • You won a free vacation!

shocked woman on phonefizkes, Shutterstock

Advertisement

Legitimate vs. Fake

Legitimate lotteries will never send winnings and ask someone to send part of it back in fees, and always be suspicious of anyone who says you’ve won a contest you don’t remember entering.

Close-up Photo of Lottery TicketWaldemar, Pexels

Advertisement

Bill Payment Scams

Some scammers will pretend to be a bill company looking for payment, such as medical bills or utility bills.

Advertisement

In fact, according to the FTC, a company called Doxo pretended to be an official payment site for big-name companies like AT&T, Spectrum, and Labcorp.

An Elderly Couple Making an Online Transaction over phoneSHVETS production, Pexels

Advertisement

Doxo Scams

Doxo used online ads that looked like they were from the companies, and even used company names as keywords so Doxo’s ads would show up in search results.

Illustrative Editorial of DOXO.COM website homepage

Advertisement

Doxo Scams: What Happened

People who paid their bills through Doxo often paid fees to Doxo on top of what they owed on the bill they were trying to pay.

Advertisement

And, in some cases, the actual company never received payment at all for the bill.

Sad couple watching the billsMikhail Nilov, Pexels

Advertisement

The Best Method to Pay Bills Online

The best place to find legitimate online payment options is the actual bill received from the company. Most times they will put the proper website or link where payment can be made.

Advertisement

A Man Looking at the White PaperMikhail Nilov, Pexels

Advertisement

Pay With a Credit Card

Online payments should be made using a credit card when at all possible. Credit cards offer the most protection against fraud, including the right to dispute charges if there are any problems.

Man in Gray Crew Neck T-shirt Holding a Credit CardRDNE Stock project, Pexels

Advertisement

Mystery Shopper Scams

A mystery shopper is someone who assesses their shopping experience by evaluating areas such as customer service, store presentation, product quality, and so on.

Advertisement

For someone looking for a job, mystery shopping can sound quite appealing—but its one of the top ways to get scammed.

Crop faceless woman using on laptop and smartphone at homeTeona Swift, Pexels

Advertisement

How Mystery Shopping Scams Work

In many mystery shopping scams, a scammer pretending to be from a well-known company “hires” you to be a mystery shopper.

They send you with a fake check and tell you to deposit it to buy gift cards from the store, and keep the rest as pay.

Advertisement

Man is holding a pay check in his hands and smiling at cameraAndrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Advertisement

How Mystery Shopping Scams Get You

Once you buy the gift cards, you are to send them the codes on the back. The scammer then gets the money you put on the cards, and the bank will come after you for the fake check you used.

Memorable TaxisFreepik, katemangostar

Advertisement

What To Watch For

Not all mystery shopper jobs are fake.

Advertisement

But before you agree to anything, do your research first. Search online for the company, plus any reviews.

Never agree to deposit a check to buy gift cards and send the numbers on the back—this is almost always a scam.

Person Using Google Browser and Drinking CoffeeFirmbee.com, Pexels

Advertisement

How to Search Online to Double Check

If you come across something and are unsure if it is a scam, head over to an online search engine and start by searching the company name.

Advertisement

Add in key words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam”. This may not be a perfect solution, but its important to see what other people are saying.

A Shocked Woman Holding a Laptop with SCAM signNataliya Vaitkevich, Pexels

Advertisement

Don’t Believe Guarantees

Another very important thing to keep in mind is that scammers like to guarantee their victims of things. If anyone guarantees you’ll make lots of money, or you will receive something for your participation, think of it as a red flag.

Stop communication and do your research before proceeding.

Advertisement

Man Holding Paper MoneyTima Miroshnichenko, Pexels

Advertisement

Bottom Line

There are scams everywhere, in all forms. From fake checks and fake jobs, to government imposters and fake loan forgiveness, scammers are getting creative and putting a lot of effort into their deceitful games.

It’s important to always remain aware, and don’t be afraid to question things.

man in red shirt thinking somethingAndrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Advertisement

Source:

Advertisement

1


READ MORE

The Rise of Semi-Retirement

Full retirement is no longer the only option. From supplemental income to boredom relief, there are many reasons why people are now choosing semi-retirement over full-retirement. Here's everything you need to know before you retire.
April 3, 2024 Allison Robertson
Cheap Hobbies Internal

Beat the Cold Without Burning Cash: Unique Indoor Hobbies on a Budget

Discover 15 unique and budget-friendly indoor hobbies perfect for the cold winter months. From DIY crafting to culinary experiments, this guide offers creative ways to stay entertained without straining your wallet. Dive into these cost-effective pastimes and make the most of your indoor time.
September 15, 2023 Allison Robertson

Top 10 Careers of 2023: Where Opportunity Meets Demand

Discover the top 10 best jobs of 2023, encompassing sectors like technology, healthcare, renewable energy, and digital marketing. Learn about the roles, salaries, and reasons why these jobs stand out in today's evolving job market, offering exciting opportunities for professionals across various industries.
November 20, 2023 Allison Robertson

The True Cost of Cheap: Why Opting for Lower Prices Now Might Cost You Later

Explore the unforeseen pitfalls and hidden costs of opting for cheaper products. This in-depth article unravels the financial, ethical, and personal impacts of choosing lower-priced items and provides alternatives to help you make savvy, sustainable spending decisions, ensuring your choices are economical and ethical in the long run.
October 15, 2023 Miles Brucker
Retirement Planning Internal3

10 Brilliant And Fun Ways To Beef Up Your Retirement Bankroll

Discover ten fun and easy strategies to boost your retirement income. Transform your golden years into an exciting new phase of life with these practical financial tips. Dive into dividend-paying stocks, explore peer-to-peer lending, consider annuities, and more. Add a twist to your retirement planning and make your relaxation years even more rewarding.
September 15, 2023 Allison Robertson

The Most Dangerous Jobs in the World

Discover the 15 most dangerous jobs in the world, and how much they pay. Learn about danger pay, PPE, and the risks associated with each job.
December 12, 2023 Allison Robertson



Dear reader,


It’s true what they say: money makes the world go round. In order to succeed in this life, you need to have a good grasp of key financial concepts. That’s where Moneymade comes in. Our mission is to provide you with the best financial advice and information to help you navigate this ever-changing world. Sometimes, generating wealth just requires common sense. Don’t max out your credit card if you can’t afford the interest payments. Don’t overspend on Christmas shopping. When ordering gifts on Amazon, make sure you factor in taxes and shipping costs. If you need a new car, consider a model that’s easy to repair instead of an expensive BMW or Mercedes. Sometimes you dream vacation to Hawaii or the Bahamas just isn’t in the budget, but there may be more affordable all-inclusive hotels if you know where to look.


Looking for a new home? Make sure you get a mortgage rate that works for you. That means understanding the difference between fixed and variable interest rates. Whether you’re looking to learn how to make money, save money, or invest your money, our well-researched and insightful content will set you on the path to financial success. Passionate about mortgage rates, real estate, investing, saving, or anything money-related? Looking to learn how to generate wealth? Improve your life today with Moneymade. If you have any feedback for the MoneyMade team, please reach out to [email protected]. Thanks for your help!


Warmest regards,

The Moneymade team