2023’s State of Internet Scams Study Released

Social Catfish has shared its study ‘State of Internet Scams 2023’, bringing together statistics, advice, and warnings about fraudulent internet activity. The company polled over 5,000 romance scam victims and has shared their key findings.

Social Catfish is an online platform that helps internet users to better understand the people they’re interacting with, using reverse image search technology to verify online identities.

In their annual report on internet scams, it shared that these crimes are becoming more devastating each year.

The report found that losses to scams by Americans amounted to 10.3 billion in 2022. The average loss per victim in the USA was $12,859 per incident last year, rising from $8,142 in 2021.

Polling of Romance Scam Victims 

In a survey of 5,500 romance scam victims in June 2023, it found that 81% of these individuals felt too ashamed to file a formal report about their experience with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Federal Trade Commission.

Respondents shared that Facebook (32%) was the most common site of these scams, followed by Google Hangouts (16%), WhatsApp (16%), and Plenty of Fish (16%).

The demographics of victims is also informative, with losses by victims aged 20 and below rising by nearly 2,500% from 2017 to 2022. While senior citizens remain the most victimised demographic, these statistics show young people are increasingly being targeted as well.

Top Scams by Money Lost

Social Catfish shares that Confidence Fraud / Romance Scams were the third most financially devastating scams in America between 2020 and 2022. These crimes were responsible for over $2 billion worth of losses in this time period.

BEC (Business Email Compromise) was the number one most financially impactful type of online scam, with over $7 billion lost between 2020 and 2022 in America. BECs involve the use of fake emails in order to trick victims into sharing money or confidential information.

Deepfake Scams and How to Avoid Them

The evolution of AI has brought with it more advanced scam technology. Social Catfish highlights deepfake videos and voice cloning as one area of concern.

These technologies can be used to impersonate important people or create fake personas, making it easier to trick victims into sharing money / information. In the case of deepfake porn, this technology could also be used for blackmail.

Social Catfish shares some tips for avoiding these AI-powered scams, such as enabling two-factor authentication on online accounts, staying up to date on these types of crimes, and verifying content they receive by following up with an individual or organisation directly. 

Click here to read the full State of Internet Scams study 2023, which goes on to highlight advice for victims and its warnings about the rise of scams expected around the time of the 2024 presidential election. 

Photo courtesy of Social Catfish.

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