Apr 2, 2024 - News

We're getting scammed

Illustration of a computer wearing a bandit's mask.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Texans lost over $1 billion to internet scams last year, ranking second behind California in cases reported to the FBI and tracking with population size.

Why it matters: If you've ever been the victim of a scam, you know how awful the feeling is.

The big picture: Americans lost over $12.5 billion to cybercriminals in 2023, according to new FBI data.

How it works: Scammers pretend to be a government official, tech support agent or customer service representative to trick people into sending money or other sensitive information.

  • The impersonators typically call with fake stories that motivate someone to share their private identifiable details.

Zoom in: The FBI received 47,305 complaints from Texans last year.

  • Last fall, Austin police warned of spoofers impersonating police personnel to collect fines over the phone.
  • Scams involving the impersonation of public officials were also reported in Gillespie and Burnet counties in the fall.

Of note: Scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

The bottom line: Many victims won't call the police after a scam or cyberattack because of either shame over falling for the ruse or fear of retaliation, but the FBI encourages reporting.

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