A recent analysis by Atlas VPN reveals that US citizens lost a record $3.56 billion to various types of online fraud in the first half of 2022, an increase of almost 53% over the same period last year.
Americans submitted more than 793 thousand fraud complaints in the first six months, and over 27% of those reports indicated a financial loss totaling $3.56 billion.
The data for the analysis was extracted from a publicly accessible database managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC shares this data to inform the nation about the state of the cybercrime landscape in the US.
The most commonly reported scam category in H1 2022, was imposter scams, with more than 361,000 complaints, 22% reporting a loss totaling $1.33 billion in damages. Since 2018, imposter fraud has been the most commonly reported, as well as the most damaging type of online fraud.
However, in H1 2022, investment-related scams caused even more financial losses to US citizens than imposter fraud. Even though the number of investment scam complaints is relatively low at 52,000, an average investment scheme lures out $40,000 per victim, while other types of scams rarely swindle more than a three-digit sum.
The potential to earn a typical half-year salary from a single scam, sounds appetizing to cybercriminals, which is why they are focusing more of their efforts in this direction.
The number of investment scheme complaints increased from 43,000 in H1 2021 to 52,000 in H1 2022, yet the most significant shift was not in the number of reports but in the losses incurred from them. Investment scheme operators swindled a whopping $1.63 billion from unsuspecting investors in H1, 2022, which is 2.7 times more than in H1, 2021.
Fraudsters use global events and breaking news to entice potential investors with the promise of large rewards. It is vital at this time to be attentive to these types of schemes, especially with the rise of new technologies and inventions, such as NFTs. Uneducated consumers can get swayed by charismatic fraudsters and decide to invest their money into a project which might be a complete scam. Usually, investment offers hinge on emerging technologies, which the investor knows little about.
Finally, online shopping and negative reviews ($184M), business and job opportunities ($164M), prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries ($114M) round up the top five fraud types in terms of losses.
Founded in 2019, Atlas VPN is a secure freemium VPN service with a goal to make safe and open internet accessible for everyone. In 2021, Atlas VPN became part of Nord Security, a leader in providing digital security and privacy solutions.