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Why Americans are losing more to scams

There was a 30% increase in the amount lost by Americans to scams in 2022. Younger adults were also more likely to be victimized by investment scams.
Cellphone with a scam alert.
Posted at 2:41 PM, Feb 28, 2023

It appears Americans are more prone to falling for scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission, $8.8 billion was lost in the U.S. in 2022 to scams, a 30% increase compared to 2021. 

According to the FTC, consumers reported losing more money to investment scams — more than $3.8 billion — than any other category in 2022. The $3.8 billion figure is nearly double what was lost in 2021. 

The FTC said it received 2.4 million reports of fraud in 2022. 

The top five reasons people cited for being scammed were:

1. Imposter scams

2. Online shopping scams

3. Fake prizes, lotteries and sweepstakes

4. Fake investment reports

5. Business and job opportunities

A portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form

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The IRS estimates the average taxpayer spends 13 hours filing taxes and pays an average of $250 to prepare to submit tax returns.

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Additionally, the FTC reported more than 1.1 million reports of identity theft in 2022. 

Data released by the FTC showed that seniors were more likely to be scammed out of larger dollar amounts. The median loss of scams for those over age 80 was $1,674, according to the FTC. For those ages 70-79, it was $1,000. For all other age groups, the median amount was under $666. 

Although elderly Americans were more prone to lose larger amounts, those age 80 and over were least likely to be scammed at all. There were 70 reports of fraud for every 100,000 people over age 80, the FTC reported. For every 100,000 people ages 30-39, there were 175 reports of fraud. 

While those over age 80 were most likely to be victimized by business imposters and tech support scams, the FTC said people under age 79 were more likely to be victimized by online shopping scams.

Younger adults were also more likely to be victimized by investment scams than older Americans, the FTC said.