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FTC Data Shows Consumers Report Losing $2.7 Billion to Social Media Scams Since 2021

Federal Trade Commission

 

New data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that scams originating on social media have accounted for $2.7 billion in reported losses since 2021, more than any other contact method.

In a new data spotlight, the FTC also takes a deep dive into social media scam trends in the first half of 2023. Reports during the first half of the year show that the most frequently reported scams on social media are related to online shopping, with 44 percent of reports pointing to fraud related to buying or selling products online. Most of these reports come from people who never received the items they ordered after responding to an ad on Facebook or Instagram.

While online shopping scams are the most commonly reported scam on social media, the spotlight notes that scams using social media to promote bogus investment schemes account for larger overall losses, accounting for 53 percent of all the money reported lost to scams on social media in the first half of the year. Cryptocurrency played a significant role in the investment scams consumers reported; more than half of the reports showed that consumers paid the scammers using cryptocurrency.

After investment scams, the spotlight noted that romance scams accounted for the second-most reported scam losses on social media.

The FTC recommends that consumers take steps to limit who can see their posts or contact them on social media, and to reach out directly by phone if someone claiming to be a friend or relative messages on social media asking for money. A full list of tips for consumers is included in the spotlight.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics at consumer.ftc.gov, or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts.

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