Apr 10, 2024 - News

Ohioans losing millions of dollars to fraud

Data: Federal Trade Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals

Ohioans lost over $150 million to fraud in 2023, according to a new Federal Trade Commission report.

Why it matters: More Americans are falling victim to scams than ever before.

  • The FTC says nationwide losses hit a record $10 billion last year.

Threat level: No group — young, old or even the computer-savvy — shows immunity to increasingly sophisticated scams, the FTC and other consumer protection groups say.

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

  • And scams mimicking government officials and services grew 15%, with the FTC receiving more than 228,000 reports of such scams last year.

Zoom in: Ohio residents filed more than 61,000 fraud reports in 2023. The median loss per victim was about $400, per the FTC.

  • Of those reports, 22,000 came from victims in the metro Columbus area.

Between the lines: 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 smaller amounts to keep their activities under the radar.

What we're watching: Over the last few years, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers were 86% more likely to report losing money to online shopping scams than older adults, per the FTC.

The bottom line: 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.

  • Report suspected scams to the FTC, which shares this information with law enforcement across the country.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
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