Every year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) examines all the complaint reports it receives to determine which types of fraud are most prevalent. Of the more than three million reports the public sent the FTC in 2019, it found that imposter scams are the most common.
While there are different types of imposter scams, the basic commonality is that a scammer pretends to be someone you trust in order to get you to send them money.
Americans reportedly lost more than $667 million to scammers through imposter scams in 2019, with the perpetrators often pretending to be from a government agency (Social Security tops the list), well-known companies, love interests, tech support agencies or even family members. Most of those who sent in complaints report that the scammers contacted them via telephone.
The FTC has a series of short videos available detailing the different types of imposter scams and how you can recognize them. Check out the videos.
How to File a Complaint
If you have spotted a scam or have lost money to a scammer, consider filing a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Though not all scammers are found and prosecuted, in 2019 alone, the FTC was able to take legal actions that led to more than $232 million being returned to people who lost money.