Consumers in the United States lost nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, an increase of more than 30 percent over the previous year, according to newly released data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The data shows that investment scams, including cryptocurrency-related fraud, resulted in the highest reported losses, with consumers losing more than $3.8 billion. This is more than double the amount reported lost in 2021.
The second-highest reported loss amount came from imposter scams, with losses of $2.6 billion reported, up from $2.4 billion in 2021. The FTC received fraud reports from 2.4 million consumers last year, most commonly reported as imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams. Prizes, sweepstakes, lotteries; investment-related reports; and business and job opportunities rounded out the top five fraud categories.
The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, which is a database that receives reports directly from consumers, as well as from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the Better Business Bureau, industry members, and non-profit organizations, received more than 5.1 million reports in 2022. The database includes the fraud reports detailed above, identity theft reports, and complaints related to other consumer issues, such as problems with credit bureaus, banks, and lenders. In 2022, over 1.1 million reports of identity theft were received through the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website.
The FTC uses the reports it receives through the Sentinel network as the starting point for many of its law enforcement investigations. The agency also shares these reports with approximately 2,800 federal, state, local, and international law enforcement professionals. While the FTC does not intervene in individual complaints, Sentinel reports are vital to the agency’s law enforcement mission.
The FTC’s data analysis site at ftc.gov/exploredata now provides a full breakdown of the reports received in 2022. The data dashboards there break down the reports across several categories, including by state and metropolitan area, and explore several subcategories of fraud reports. The FTC is urging consumers to report any suspicious activity to the agency so that they can continue to build a comprehensive database to combat fraud.