GIACT (a Refinitiv company) released an addition to its annual identity theft report, developed by Aite-Novarica, on consumer scams in 2021.
According to the report, one-in-three (34%) U.S. consumers were targeted by scams in 2021. Scammers used email, phone calls, text message and social media, along with a variety of scam tactics and payment channels, to socially engineer victims out of their money and / or sensitive information.
The report tracks which scams were the most common in 2021, the most financially irreversible and how knowledgeable consumers were about the scams taking place.
- Scams have become a regular part of our daily, digital lives. Thirty-four percent of U.S. consumers were targeted by scams in 2021. Scammers used any means of communications necessary – social media, phone calls, text and email – to reach their target.
- Phishing was the most prevalent type of scam in 2021. Nearly half (48%) of consumers surveyed said that they were contacted or subjected to a phishing scam – making it the most common scam tactic behind sweepstakes scams (29%) and online purchase scams (26%). Phishing is when a scammer sends a text or email with a link to a website with the goal of installing malware or collecting sensitive information.
- People ages 18 – 24 were more likely to fall for a scam than any other age group. While all age groups encountered scams at relatively the same rate, 33% of those who fell for a scam were between the ages 18 – 24 – the highest rate of any age group. This might be because younger consumers generally have less experience recognizing a scam, despite being digitally savvy.
- Victims of romance scams and P2P scams were least likely to get their money back. A majority of victims of romance scams (66%) and P2P scams (56%) said that they were not able to retrieve their money after falling victim to a scam. In many cases, because of the sophisticated social engineering involved in these scams, victims readily paid their scammers, bypassing fraud controls, making these payments irreversible.
- Nearly half of consumers say that they have never received any educational materials about the scams taking place. Forty-five percent of consumers say they have not received education materials from their bank, credit card company, credit bureau or other organization or service on scams. Given the prevalence of scams, educating consumers about how to safely use financial products and how to recognize a scam will be an important step in preventing financial crime.