Guest Post: Americans lost $1.19 billion to imposter scams in 2020 Says Atlas VPN

Atlas VPN findings reveal that Americans lost $1.19 billion to imposter fraud in 2020, which is $613.8 million more than last year, representing a 106.56% increase. 

Here, a criminal pretends to be a trusted person to get consumers to send money or provide sensitive personal information. Most commonly, scammers impersonate a family member, a government agency, a computer technician, a well-known company representative, or even a romantic interest.

The data is provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). US Citizens can submit fraud reports to the FTC for further investigation. The FTC shares this data to inform the nation about the state of the cybercrime landscape in the US. 

Last year, Americans submitted 498,278 imposter scam complaints, out of which 22% reported a financial loss. Median loss reaches $850. Scammers used phone calls as the most common method of contact. On average, US citizens lost $297.45 million per quarter to imposter scams in 2020.

In 2019, consumers lost $576 million to impersonators from 645,874 individual complaints. Significantly fewer people reported losing money to such scams, with 13% of complaints indicating monetary damages. On average, victims lost $144 million per quarter, with median losses standing at $650. Once again, fraudsters mostly used phone calls to contact the victims.

Looking back at 2018, US consumers submitted 549,922 pretender scam complaints. Over 18% of victims indicated a financial loss, which amounted to $491.6 million in damages. Fraudsters swindled out around $122.9 million per quarter, with median losses at $500.

Finally, throughout the last five years, US residents suffered a staggering $2.34 billion in damages from imposter scams.

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