If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that every year we report on the top scams people tell us about. And that we take a deeper dive into the data through our Data Spotlight reports. A new Data Spotlight about business and government imposters shines a light on the top imposter scams.

Last year, people reported almost half a million business and government imposter scams directly to the FTC. These reports reveal three trends:

  1. Scammers are relying more on text or email messages to start their schemes, and less on phone calls.
  2. Scammers are increasingly convincing people to send money through bank transfers or to pay with cryptocurrency.
  3. Scammers often impersonate more than one organization, like a business and a government agency.

And these are the five most common imposter scams people described:

  1. Scammers send bogus alerts about suspicious activity or unauthorized charges on your account. Our recent blog post, Did you get a call or text about a suspicious purchase on Amazon? It’s a scam, breaks down this complicated scam.
  2. Scammers send you phony notices saying they’re going to charge you hundreds of dollars to renew a subscription, often impersonating Best Buy’s Geek Squad tech support service. Find out how to recognize a fake Geek Squad renewal scam.
  3. Scammers try to trick you into paying for things like fake discounts, bogus giveaways, or non-existent prizes.
  4. Scammers make bogus allegations implying you committed a crime but then claim they’ll connect you with someone who’ll help. To learn more about this intricate scheme, read Never move your money to “protect it.” That’s a scam.
  5. Scammers send you fake delivery notifications to trick you into giving up your financial information, and have been known to impersonate the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx.

As the Data Spotlight shows, imposter scams evolve over time. To stay a step ahead of them, check out our blog series, Anatomy of an Imposter Scam.

And if you spot a scam, or something you think is a scam, tell the FTC: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.


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