Updated Feb 13, 2024 - Technology

U.S. adults lost a record $10 billion to fraud in 2023

Data: Federal Trade Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Federal Trade Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. adults lost a record $10 billion to fraudsters in 2023, according to new Federal Trade Commission data.

Why it matters: More Americans fell for a variety of scams — including those related to investments, business decisions, romance and government services — last year.

By the numbers: Fraudsters tricked roughly 690,000 people into giving them money during a scam, resulting in total losses of $10.02 billion, according to the FTC.

  • The median amount lost to these scams was roughly $500.
  • That's marginally higher than in 2022, when about 624,000 people reported losing money to fraud scams, totaling $8.9 billion.

The big picture: Law enforcement often doesn't have enough officers or field agents to go after every single instance of fraud — especially if only a few hundred dollars was stolen.

  • Scammers know this and tend to go after seemingly smaller amounts to keep their activities under the radar.

Between the lines: Business imposter scams, where attackers impersonate legitimate organizations like a major retailer or tech support, jumped 18% in 2023 to 474,000 from less than 400,000 in 2022.

Be smart: Watch out for phishing emails and suspicious phone calls. If you're not expecting a call from tech support or another business, it's probably not them.

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