Consumer fraud triples

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The numbers are in. The Federal Trade Commission released its annual compendium of fraud reports from last year, and the news is shocking. Over the past three years, reported losses to consumer fraud has tripled, coming in at a reported $5.9 billion in 2021.

Nearly six million US consumers reported a scam last year and the median loss was $500. But the FTC can only tell us about fraud that was reported – we know the losses and number of victims is far higher.

Many factors contribute to under-reporting, including the abundant shame victims feel. AARP officials argue this has to change, starting with how we talk about fraud victims. That means changing the current narrative that suggests it’s the victim’s fault – she was duped, he was swindled, they fell for it. AARP officials urge people to focus instead on the crime and the criminal. That means easing the emotional burden while making it clear that fraud is a crime and we need our lawmakers and criminal justice system to do more to combat the multi-billion-dollar fraud industry.

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