Americans lost nearly $4 billion to investment scams in 2022
Over the past few years, investment scams have become increasingly sophisticated and widespread, taking advantage of the rise of digital technologies.
According to data analyzed by the Atlas VPN team, Americans were scammed out of $3.8 billion through fraudulent investment opportunities. Compared to 2021, the amount of losses has grown by 116%. Many of these scams use social media platforms, websites, apps, and other channels to reach potential victims.
In the last 4 years, investment scams in the US have grown by nearly 4000%. In 2018, fraudsters stole $94.5 million using investment scams, and 8,392 (57% of all) fraud reports indicated a loss. By 2022, the number of reports increased significantly, with 77,599 reports (74% of all) revealing a loss of money in investment scams.
Furthermore, scammers have been getting away with more and more money. In 2018, the median loss from investment scams was $2,262. Since then, it steadily grew from year to year, and in 2022, it reached $21,727.
A few reasons for such growth are the increasing internet and social media use, which helped scammers find new ways to reach potential victims. Additionally, the rise of interest in crypto made people think they could get rich quickly by investing in it during economically unstable times.
Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN, Vilius Kardelis, shares his thoughts on the rise of investment-related scams:
“Overall, investment scams have grown significantly due to various factors, including technological advancements, economic instability, and the increased sophistication of scammers. Individuals need to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect themselves from such scams.”
How do scammers contact you?
Some states experienced much more scams than others, and fraudsters used certain contact and payment methods more commonly.
Most commonly, scammers contact Americans through social media when offering investment opportunities. People reported 27,611 attempts of fraud through social media. By far, the most common payment method in such scams was cryptocurrencies. People lost over $880 million worth of crypto throughout 30,162 reported investment fraud cases.
Another vital statistic is that Nevada was the most common target of scammers. Nevadans reported 316.5 investment-related scams per million population. Californians were second with 272.7 reports per million population.
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