The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently released data showing that consumers lost over $8 billion to scams in 2022. This massive loss is an increase of more than 30% compared to 2021.
The majority of the crimes came from investment scams ($3.8 billion) and imposter scams ($2.6 billion). Online shopping scams were more commonly reported of the 2.4 million fraud reports from consumers. The FTC also noted that the highest reported losses came from social media, and then followed by phone calls with the highest per person median loss of $1,400. Learn more HERE.
Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a United States federal agency that works to prevent deceptive, fraudulent and unfair business practices. Their first objective is to identify fraud that cause the greatest consumer injury. Their second objective is to stop the fraud, deception and unfair practices through law enforcement. Finally, their third objective is to prevent consumer injury from happening in the first place through education.
Every year the FTC reports the top scam highlights of the previous year. This is how 2022 stacked up:
– Investment scams had the largest losses at $3.8 billion. Investment scams promise that you will make a lot of money quickly, easily and with low risk. The FTC reported that these scams involve the investment in financial or real estate markets. Learn how to research investment opportunities HERE.
– Impersonator scams were, once again, the most reported scam. Losses from these scams total $2.6 billion for 2022. The FTC reported that the major difference in this type of scam from the previous year is that there were higher losses to business imposters to the tune of $660 million in comparison to last year’s $453 million. Scams in this category include social security, IRS, romance, caregiver, family emergency, tech support and grandchild scams. Learn how to identify a scam happening to you or a loved one by viewing the short videos HERE.
How were scams identified and processed? Some losses were through bank transfers. Others started on social media and phone calls. Young adults in their 20s reported losses more often than seniors in their 70s. Unfortunately, the seniors lost more money than any other age group.
The FTC has a PDF available for download with a visual snapshot of the top frauds of 2022. Click HERE to learn about the rest of 2022’s top scams and view the PDF.
Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827.
On August 24th, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the one-time federal student loan debt relief plan. While the forgiveness plan is designed to help many low and middle-income families, we are now seeing an increase in scams that have the potential to hurt them badly.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests some ways to avoid being a victim of a student loan scam:
– Never pay an up-front fee. Companies that charge you before they help you are breaking the law. Don’t fall for the ads that promise to help you with student loan debt. If you have federal loans, go to the Department of Education at StudentAid.gov.
– Don’t sign up for quick loan forgiveness. Even though they might say they can wipe out your loans by disputing them, they can not.
– Don’t trust a Department of Education seal. Even though it might look like an official seal and logo, it likely isn’t.
– Don’t rush. Scammers will ask you to act fast so you don’t “miss” qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidation or forgiveness programs.
– Don’t provide your FSA ID to anyone. This is your private information and can be used to steal your identity.
The FTC also stressed that there is nothing a company can do for you that cannot do yourself for free. Again, if you have federal loans, start with StudentAid.gov/repay. If your loans are private, contact your lender directly.
To learn more about the debt relief plan from the U.S. Department of Education, click HERE.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Member Services immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827).
Photo courtesy credit: Muhammad Rizwan via unsplash.com.
We have seen a dramatic spike in unemployment fraud, PPP fraud and SBA loan fraud.
Some of you may have received or will be receiving unemployment benefits. Or, maybe you are an employer and have received notice that an employee of yours applied for unemployment benefits. The thieves simply apply for benefits or loans using your PII or confidential business information.
Your state’s Department of Jobs & Services is aware that many of these applications are fraudulent. Several states, such as Ohio, are in process of launching an online option for employers to report potential fraud on behalf of multiple current or former employees. For information about Ohio, please click HERE.
Be vigilant. Be strong. If you are concerned that you or an employee has been a victim of unemployment fraud, please reach out to Member Services. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827).
We understand that this is a very confusing time when anxiety levels are extremely high. New programs are being launched and the details might not be completely understood at first. As of today, federal disaster loan assistance is now available for businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners, and renters negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are a small business owner, keep in mind that you may receive unsolicited calls, letters or emails. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is urging small business owners to keep an eye out for coronavirus-related loan scams as many of their members have received multiple loan scam emails and phone calls in the past few days. What do you do if you aren’t sure if an offer is legitimate or a scam? Understand that:
– No one should be charging an application fee to apply for the coronavirus disaster relief loan.
– You should not release any personal identifying information (PII), such as Social Security numbers, your date of birth, credit card information, or financial institution account data, in response to an unsolicited call, letter or email.
– The Better Business Bureau is available for more information on a company before you commit to anything.
– If ever in doubt, contact your state’s Attorney General’s office. You can search for that contact information HERE.
Be smart. Be vigilant. Be strong. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. We are available 24/7/365 for you and your family members at 888.966.GUARD (4827) and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ for more information on federal disaster loans.