FTC: Impersonation Scams Increasingly Rely on Emails, Texts Over Phone Calls | Tech

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Scammers are now tricking victims more through emails and texts than via phone calls, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC today released stats about impersonation scams, which involves fraudster pretending to be a well-known business or government official. 

The agency says criminals appear to be switching tactics. “Comparing 2020 to 2023, for example, reports of scams starting with a phone call have plummeted, while reports of scams starting with a text or email have increased,” the commission said in the report. 

(Credit: FTC)

Indeed, in 2020, about 67% of all impersonation scams started with a phone call, based on the FTC’s consumer complaints. But since then, the proportion has fallen to 32%. Meanwhile, impersonation scams that started with an email made up 26% of the complaints while text-based scams comprised 14%, bringing the combined total to 40%. 

The FTC issued the report to warn the public about the threat. Last year, it received “more than 330,000 reports of business impersonation scams and nearly 160,000 reports of government impersonation scams,” resulting in $1.1 billion in losses. In that same period, affected consumers reported surging losses through bank transfers and cryptocurrency transactions.

“And reports show an increasingly blurred line between business and government impersonation scams,” the FTC added. “Many scammers impersonate more than one organization in a single scam—for example, a fake Amazon employee might transfer you to a fake bank or even a fake FBI or FTC employee for fake help.”

The report goes on to list the top five ways…

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