Happy National Consumer Protection Week! The Federal Trade Commission is celebrating by warning people about an alarming trend. For the first time ever, fraud is its top complaint.
Consumer reporter Steve Noviello said the top spot on the FTC’s complaint list is usually reserved for things like identity theft and debt collection. But fraud is on the rise and Texas is fifth in the nation for it.
Apparently, the scams have become so specific that some people are easy targets.
It’s no longer about people sending cash to a Nigerian prince. The type of fraud the FTC is now seeing includes romance scams, gift card reloading scams or people demanding cash because they say a family member is in trouble.
Surprisingly, consumers in their 20s – those who are always sharing details of their life on social media – are the most likely to be targeted. They’re actually losing more money to fraud than seniors, a group which has traditionally been a target.
While seniors still tend to lose more per incident, the FTC said the younger generation is more than twice as likely to be a victim in the first place.
Consumers exist in such a data-rich environment these days that many have become more susceptible to scammers.
Think about how many times you catalog your day on social media. Do you post about where you shop, where you eat and how many family members you have? It’s easy to turn that information against you.
According to the FTC, Americans lost nearly $1.5 billion to fraudsters last year. That’s up 38 percent from 2017.