Mar 26, 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.

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

  • Investment fraud was the costliest cybercrime reported nationally, jumping 28% since 2022.
  • Americans also had roughly $1.3 billion in 2023 taken by scammers pretending to be from the government or tech support, the FBI says.

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 month, the U.S. Marshals Service and FBI alerted San Antonians of spoofers using government phone numbers to collect fines.
  • Some individuals were contacted by people claiming to be a U.S. marshal for the Western District, under Susan Pamerleau — a familiar name for many San Antonians.
  • Scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

The intrigue: Fake job offers are among the most prolific and fastest-growing scams in the U.S., with some scammers reaching out to people about freelance opportunities over texts.

Reality check: People of all ages are susceptible to scams — not just the elderly. Only 40% of those who fell for tech support scams were reported by the FBI to be over age 60.

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.


Subscribe for more Axios San Antonio in your inbox.

Read the full edition

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Antonio stories

No stories could be found

San Antoniopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Antonio.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more