The 20th edition of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) Data Book gives insight into how consumers were impacted by fraud and identity theft in 2017. The Consumer Sentinel is a cyber tool and database that provides local, state, federal, and even international law enforcement groups with access to millions of consumer reports of fraud and identity theft. The 2017 report turned up some intriguing facts and patterns.
Reports on a variety of fraud, including imposter scams, telemarketing scams, sweepstakes, lotteries, and advance-fee loan scams, are part of the annual compilation. Fraud reports totaled 1.1 million in 2017—over 42 percent of the total. Almost one in five fraud victims experienced a financial loss, resulting in a total loss of $905 million. Timeshare and vacation scams cost victims the most—an average of $1,710 each.
Millennials were most likely to lose money to fraud with forty percent of people between age 20 and 29 reporting financial damages. Only 18 percent of individuals over 70 lost funds but those who did take a financial hit paid out more than any other age group. Not all individuals filing reports provided their age.
Identity theft is measured as a separate category. It was the core issue in 371,000 reports, roughly 14 percent of the total. About one third of the ID theft victims experienced credit card fraud. Employment or tax-related identity theft came in second with phone or utility accounts representing the third most common type.
Each CSN Data Book breaks down both fraud and identity theft by state. For the second year, Michigan topped Florida as the state with the highest reported identity theft rate. California, Maryland, and Nevada rounded out the top five. Florida still ranks #1 in the fraud/imposter scam category.
Though fewer fraud reports were filed in 2017, more money was lost. Stay educated on the types of fraud so you can spot scams and avoid them. Check out these ten tips from the FTC, and help keep your money out of the hands of fraudsters.