Record $4.2 billion lost by Americans to online scams in 2020, study says

National News

(WTAJ) — An annual study found that 2020 broke records for the amount of money lost by Americans as a result of online scams in just one year.

The $4.2 billion lost in 2020 was over half of what was lost from 2017-19 combined. In those three years, a total of $7.5 billion was lost, according to an identity verification website, Social Catfish. It’s believed the 2020 figure is due to the fact more people were on their phones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 2021 study found that so far, most of the losses come from California ($621 million), New York ($416 million), Texas ($313 million), Florida ($295 million) and Ohio ($170 million). Pennsylvania ranks No. 8 across the country with over $100 million lost.

Some of the lowest reported scams occur in South Dakota ($3 million), Vermont ($4 million) and West Virginia ($5 million).

Their study also reports that the top 10 platforms of online scams include Facebook, Google Hangouts, Instagram, WhatsApp, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, OurTime, Zoosk, Words With Friends and Tinder.

Some of the most common methods of scams include phishing emails, VoIP phone numbers and fake dating/social media profiles.

Additionally, they found that most scammers come from Nigeria followed by China, India, Romania and then Mexico.

For a more in-depth look into the study or to learn ways to avoid becoming a victim of a scam, head to Social Catfish’s website.

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