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The top frauds of 2020

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2020 was a tough year. Between the pandemic and the economic crisis, we all had our hands full. And scammers didn’t take any time off either — 2020 was a busy year for fraud. In 2020, the FTC got more than 2.2 million reports about fraud, with people telling us they lost nearly $3.3 billion.

Here’s what we heard from you in 2020:

  • The top fraud of 2020 was imposter scams. Scammers showed up wearing many different hats — from that of a government official, to a known business, to a dear family member or friend. The FTC got nearly 500,000 reports of imposter scams, and people reported losing a lot of money to these scammers: $1.2 billion, with a median loss of $850. Government and business imposter scams were also among the top categories of COVID-19 and stimulus related reports, proving once again, that scammers follow the headlines.
  • Online shopping and negative reviews was the second most reported fraud category of 2020. With the pandemic came an increase in online shopping, and then a wave of reports about sellers failing to deliver on promises — or just failing to deliver, period. The FTC got more than 350,000 reports, with people telling us they lost a total of more than $245 million, with a median loss of about $100.
  • The phone is still the top way that scammers are reaching us — both through phone calls and text messages. In fact, there was a sharp increase in the number of reports saying that scammers contacted them by text message. And, not surprisingly, many of these text messages were related to the pandemic. We heard about text message scams luring people to click on links with promises of stimulus relief, economic relief or loans for small businesses, or “waiting packages.”

We can only fight scammers with your help. When you report to the FTC, your report is instantly available to more than 3,000 federal, state, and local law enforcers across the country who are looking to fight fraud. If you’ve spotted a scam, tell us at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Scam Tags:  Avoiding Scams

Comments

Imagine recovering 3.3 billion. Requires holding the cons accountable after the crime.
Now imagine preventing a 3.3 billion lost. Stopping the cons before they implement their scam.
We know who these folks are because they have most likely escaped accountability before. The folks are no strangers to the crimes of con and scam the greedy side of bait and switch.

Last year, 1.7 million people nationwide and in 64 countries received payments totaling $483 million because of the FTC’s enforcement actions. People got refunds resulting from more than 50 FTC cases. The most money — around $300 million — went back to about 142,000 people because of a settlement with Western Union.

but when will Congress pass laws that require every telecommunications provider, whether landline, cell, satellite or VOIP, to provide FOR FREE and without having to ask, free blocker software or apps? And then fund the FTC, and Consumer Protection Agency, so that they are able to make sure all those telecommunications providers actually PROVIDE those free and EFFECTIVE spam call blockers? I'm getting 8 or more fake calls on my landline/day, now they're starting on my cell, which I use only for texting/almost never give out the number. I don't even answer my phone(s) anymore, I look at caller ID, don't recognize the number, don't pick up. But of course I have to look at the caller ID. Except for when I use googlevoice I have no way of blocking any of these numbers or anyway of blocking robocalls. If US technology is so great, then why isn't it possible to develop those applications? And provide them for free.

Thank for the informatiion. It is hard to get all the sammers information.

There are some scammers posing as Microsoft. They put a block on your computer when you try to log in to Charles Schwab brokerage firm. They say that your passwords have been compromised and to call a number. They have the balance of your accounts. They threaten to take all your checking account money.

If a scammer put software on your computer that blocks you from getting to certain sites, you may need to update your security software. You could do that yourself or get technical support from the company that made your computer or from a professional. This FTC article about Malware tells more about what to do if you get malicious software on your computer.

Between my phone and my parents phone receive 20 extra calls per day all fraud and from overseas because you can tell when after you say hello the phone makes a funny noise that sends the call through from overseas and their foreigners and there's nothing that we can supposedly do about it but they have to use the phone company to get through so somewhere something can be done about it when and how is the question today wouldn't be soon enough

Every day, all day, I get calls wanting to sell me car warranties, Medicare supplements or say they are with Visa, among other things. I know the numbers are spoofed because I actually had a call from my own number. I am so tired of playing whack a mole with these callers. I don't answer my phone anymore if I don't recognize the number because it's gotten so bad, and I'm afraid I'm going to miss an important call at some point. I've changed my voice mail message, letting callers know that I no longer monitor it because the spammers fill it up as quickly as I empty it, and tell them to reach me by text, email or call my husband's phone. I also get quite a few texts trying to sell me diet products and want to pay me to put an advertising decal on my car, but I don't know how to report these to you or if there's even anything that can be done about it. I have probably blocked at least 300 numbers and I'm fed up. There's got to be a way to stop this!

Been getting many calks per day and week.a prerecorded call from agent inserts name for ?Medicare says this line is being recorded I never respond and the call.is disconnected. Screams.scam to me and yes continue to get the car warranty speall. All.scams hang up put.your money in a spscial..account for.car repairs end of worry.

If you have an iPhone (not sure about Androids) you can set your phone to only ring for callers in your contact list. At least it reduces the ringing!

Read more about your call blocking options at www.FTC.gov/Calls.

I'm experiencing the exact same issues. It has actually caused me some mental issues. It stresses me out and depresses me. I have to cut off my phone but like hate to miss an important call, such as, doctor appointments. These people need to be arrested and fined.

I would like to add other scam, Long term care insurance for senior people, that looks very legit, from a legit company too, however, when you try to contact them to have the promised benefits, they just have a labyrinth of paper work, unanswered phone, etc.
Be aware of this fraud, please

It you spot a scam, fraud or bad business practice, please report it at www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

There are a lot of online people pertaining to be online store that sale clothing, handbags etc they will take your money to there online pay pal and you get nothing except the lose of your money

There is some company that that tells you to click on a box ,and you are able a gift card ex.Amazon "1000 If you answer a survey .
In my past, I ended up with countless calls trying to sell things for diabetes knee replaceme8. Below the offer are countless posts of people claiming they completed their survey, and recieved the 1000,Amazon gift card , Now ,I am beginning to believe these could be false postings ,

I've had the same thing happen to me. Fell for it and found out I was taken. They end up charging shipping of $4.95 for item after survey and then you're signed up for monthly charges, but they don't tell you that right off. I've gotten a refund after arguing with them.

Many scammers are using the company name, Amazon. They call you with a local area code and fake numbers informing you about an issue with your account. They send emails letting you know about order being delayed due to issues with account. It is definitely fraud. Anytime I have ordered through Amazon, payment has to be confirmed first before order can be process. You automatically receive an email afterwards stating the order is being process and will receive updates as far as confirm shipping date. I don’t answer the phone. Let it go to voicemail. They want you to pick up and answer. Once again. they may leave a fake recording. It is annoying. I have called these numbers back and I get a recording that number is no longer in service.

The Amazon scam has happened to me, twice in fact. I contacted the FTC. Do I also need to contact Amazon?

My bank credit card account was hacked so many times I had to close out the account! The fraud department always replaced the sum that had been taken! What upsets me is they do not go after the perpetrators. They say it’s up to my police to do so. In one case I did so, the perp was found and was arrested! But, I wonder why banks don’t extend themselves to catch and prosecute these thieves ?

Not long ago today, I received a pone call from a Caller
NAME: UNASSIGNED, FROM # 1- 443 -604 -7671
MESSAGE: WE ARE GOING TO TAKE $ 399.00 FROM YOUR ACCOUNT.
FOR: YOUR MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION! IN 24 HRS or stay on the line and press 1. I hung up. I had this call before from a different number last time I did press 1 and got cursed at.
Facebook: is having people press a code than it shuts you out and to get back on your site, they want something ! gift cards etc.
Just ignore it ! if you did it ! DO NOT DO WHAT IT SAYS . Just go back into your account use your same password and you should get back on your Facebook site. Just wanted to let people be informed to SCAMS.
MAY GOD BLESS US ALL.

I wonder what percentage of reported scams have individuals identified and being pursued for prosecution?

Tangible consequential response to those criminals should be reformulated, beside the undeniable effort of the Federal Agencies to safeguard those of aged and weak among us.

Please keep telling people not to respond to call back on numbers shown but to contact the company directly if in doubt. Today I got a phone call supposely from Amazon Support asking me to call back at a number. I did not call back on that number. Instead I contacted Amazon directly and was told it was a scam.

What the FTC mentioned above are all correct , in addition to that, scam bugs can now be able to change or edit some important information on particular webpage of a particular website. e.g. changing contact information, then when you call the number, your call go to the scam-bugs. Same as the link.
But on my side is different. My DATA was sold almost all over the World, and my network and apps are being used and never compensate. Google and Gmail accounts was taken from me. I just retrieved my Yahoo account not long enough. But some emails are gone. All my save documents, gone.
The only solution to this problematic system that was being said “cyber-attack” to the government website. It’s not, they are all after my assets. But once it is already in my possession, they’re all going to stop.

Received phone call from # 1-361-894-2167 Victoria Texas Telling me my Amazon acct was charged $129 For a service charge Called Amazon and this was not true

I have a phone which shows who is calling me. It includes "Unavailable" or "unknown" or is just blank. For most of these I use my Big Red Button after answering and not wanting to speak to the caller. The button will NOT allow the number to call me again. So far I have 244 numbers that cannot reach me again.

I CONSTANTLY GET CALLS FROM PEOPLE CLAIMING THAT THE WARRANTY ON MY CAR IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE. THEY CALL FROM DIFFERENT NUMBERS BUT IT'S THE SAME SCAM. HERE'S THE KICKER, I DO NOT OWN A CAR. WARN CONSUMERS OF THIS SCAM.

There's a new scam out and I just got it this afternoon from this number caller ID # 416-800-3107
Toronto ON
It was an automated call stating they were calling from Amazon and they had just charged my credit card for $200 for Prime. "If you don't want to be charged, Press 1" I did nothing but I thought it was odd because Prime only costs $100. annually , thinking perhaps there was an increase.

My husband talked to customer service at Amazon an hour later and she said it was a scam call and someone else just reported the same automated call just a few minutes ago. Anyway, our Prime does cost $100. and it's not due until November and Amazon doesn't call people.

There needs to be a law that all the information that is revealed on our caller id's must be accurate, so that we know exactly who is calling us.

I would have serious doubts that the scammers would follow this or any law.

You’re absolutely right !! When you think about hard can that be ? Why isn’t there already a law in place that protect’s ALL consumers through their cell phone and or land line providers that permits only legitimate incoming calls to come through !! All the technology that’s out there , you should not have to tell them what should already be in place due to the many serious issues that arises with these scammers hackers that does take place much way to long ! You’re comment is 100% !!!

Thanks folks for the scam alerts,as you stated the sammers to make a living at it have to keep changing their schemes.I report most that that I get to the FTC,whether it is a phone call on my answering machine or in a bogus email.This reporting is rather tedious and time consuming.I do it because I don't wasnt anyone to lose any money to these bums.So if I sacrifice my time reporting my incidents with these scammers,please act on the correct information that you receive.THANKS

Recently we traveled to Florida. We received SO many calls and texts while there regarding "Scam Risks!" Seems like every day we'd have 2 or 3 of these calls/texts! Of course, we did not answer them knowing that they were just scams! Whenever we blocked the call, they would just call back using another number!

The worst scamming has been on line accounts including my financial institution. Every 28 days or so I cannot access my bank accounts on line. This forces me to make a call to SOMEONE for my info giving out my USELESS info to a stranger. Including my SS account and Health Insurance. I have been bilked of over 6000.00 dollars this year.

unless you start putting scammers in jail you are waiting your time and mine ....

Today I received a scam email which claimed to be from a person named James (I forgot the last name). The email mentioned something about $12 thousand/million dollars for a deceased person. Fortunately I deleted the email. Is there any action that I should take next?

I honestly don't know how these people sleep at night. Are you guys getting emails on Covid relief money, can borrow up to $5000... I'm not sure if these are scams, but I delete them. I'm wondering if these are paycheck loans.

Wow. Just imagine being the person to deal with the fraud call. Must have been very pressured.

Latest one that we received was from "Kroger" offering a $500 gift certificate. But the return email was not Kroger's. I reported it on this site.

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