Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says That US military personnel lost over $822 million to scams since 2017

According to data presented by Atlas VPN, the US military personnel lost $822.1 million to different types of internet crime between 2017 and June 30, 2021. Military members filed more than 836,374 reports of fraud, identity theft, and other consumer concerns with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Reservists and military personnel families were behind the lion’s share of the losses, at $484.4 million, 59% of all military monetary damages in the last 5 and a half years. They also submitted over 322 thousand unique complaints to the FTC.

The veterans & military retirees’ financial damages encompass 35% of all losses at $290.1 million. This group fell to various types of internet crime most often, as they sent out a total of 452 thousand reports. The median loss in this category is $700. 

Finally, fraudsters swindled over $47.6 million from active duty service members. This group also submitted the least complaints at 52 thousand since 2017. The median loss for active duty service members is one hundred lower than that of veterans, at $600. 

Edward Garb, a cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, shares his advice on how to avoid internet scams:

Even though the US has numerous task forces to deal with this growing epidemic of internet crime, each individual should be cautious and stay on the lookout for any red flags when dealing with internet-related money transfers.”

Most dangerous types of scams

Interestingly, romance scams, also widely known as catfishing, are at the top of the list. Heartless criminals lured out as much as $92 million from the US military members.

Even though romance scams have been widely known for quite a while, victims are still not afraid to send large amounts of money to someone they met online, as the median loss to this type of crime stands at $2,400. Victims submitted a total of 7,120 romance scam reports to the FTC.

The second most damaging internet crime for the US military members was miscellaneous investments. As much as $90.2 million were lost to bogus investments. The median loss is not that far behind romance scams, hovering at $2,000.

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