Mar 6, 2024 - News

Scammers cost Oregon residents big in 2023

Illustration of a fishing hook sinking into an ocean of hundred dollar bills.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Oregonians lost nearly $98 million to fraud in 2023, according to a new Federal Trade Commission report.

Why it matters: Americans lost a record $10 billion to fraudsters in 2023, with no group — young, old, even the computer-savvy — showing immunity to the evolving and increasingly sophisticated scams, according to the FTC and other consumer protection groups.

  • Over the last few years, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers were actually 86% more likely to report losing money to online shopping scams than older adults, per the FTC.

By the numbers: More than 29,000 fraud reports were filed by Oregon residents, according to the commission.

  • The median loss per victim was about $500.
  • Oregon was the 13th most defrauded state based on money lost relative to the state's population — $2.3 million per 100,000 residents, according to QR code generating company QRFY, which analyzed the data,

Zoom in: The most common types of frauds reported in Oregon were impostor scams, identity theft, online shopping and review and loan frauds.

  • Impostor scams, which can include romance-related ones, occur when a person is tricked into sending money, usually via wire transfer or gift card, by someone claiming to be someone else, according to the Better Business Bureau.
  • Online shopping and review fraud can take various forms, including bogus stores or ads, and fake or dishonest product reviews, per the FTC.

What they're saying: People of all ages, demographics and educational backgrounds can fall victim to fraud, per the AARP.

Case in point: Stacy Larsen, a spokesperson for AARP Oregon, cautioned that scammers might pose as a grandchild, romantic interest, or a government entity like the IRS or Social Security Administration, but the advice is the same: "Always protect your personal data. Do not send money."

  • Remember, Larsen said, the government isn't going to request that you pay by gift card, wire transfer, crypto or through payment apps.

The bottom line: Dale Dixon, the Better Business Bureau Great West + Pacific's chief innovation officer, told Axios that consumers should research the track records of companies before buying anything from them.

  • Never give out financial information on the phone (or via text) and avoid unsolicited loan offers. Also, remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Go deeper: AARP Oregon has a collection of articles and a newsletter to help people protect themselves from online schemes.

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