People Lost More Than $10B to Scams Last Year — What To Know

Investment and imposter fraud topped the list of scams in 2023, a new FTC report shows.

Illustration of two men and their shadows, with one man's shadow showing a long Pinocchio nose and the other's a question mark over its head..
(Image credit: Feodora Chiosea, Getty Images)

People lost more than $10 billion to scams last year, an increase of 14% from 2022 and a new record, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report.

Most people lost the most money to investment scams, the report shows, but imposter scams were the most-reported fraud category to the FTC. The report precedes by a few days a February 15 warning from FTC Chair Lina Khan about fraudsters posing as government officials. The warning followed reports of a magazine columnist being scammed by someone posing as a CIA agent seeking a bank transfer.

"Being the victim of a scam can be devastating," Khan said in a thread to the tweet. "A reminder that nobody from @FTC will ever give you a badge number, ask you to confirm your Social Security number, ask how much money you have in your bank account, transfer you to a CIA agent or send you texts out of the blue."

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The FTC received 2.6 million fraud reports from consumers in 2023, an increase of about 8% from the 2.4 million reported in 2022. One in four people reported losing money, with a median loss of $500 per person, the agency said in the report.

Last year, scams cost consumers $8.8 billion, which was an alarming 30% increase over 2021's total of $6.1 billion.

In both 2023 and 2022, investment scams accounted for the most losses, causing more than $4.6 billion in losses last year — a 21% increase over $3.8 billion in 2022. The FTC definition of investment scams includes fraud that persuades people to invest in financial markets, cryptocurrency, real estate or other assets that claim you’ll make a lot of money quickly with little to no risk.

Imposter scams racked up the second-highest total loss at $2.7 billion, a 4% increase over the $2.6 billion lost in 2022.

Top frauds by category

The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network tracks all consumer fraud complaints by category. Here are last year's top-five fraud categories, ranked by total complaints and percentage of overall reports filed:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryNumber of ReportsTotal $ LossMedian $ Loss
Imposter Scams853,935$2,668.1M$800
Online Shopping368,379$392.2M$125
Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries157,520$337.9M$878
Investment Related107,669$4,641.9M$7,768
Business and Job Opportunities107,134$490.7M$2,137

How to protect yourself

To protect yourself from scams, the FTC advises that you never give your private information to someone who calls you claiming to be from your financial institution, be skeptical of online shopping sites with very low prices, watch out for scam job listings and never share your passwords, social security number, credit card information or bank account information.

You can also try to avoid robocalls from scammers by adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry by registering it at or by calling (888) 382-1222.

To learn more about how to spot, avoid and report scams, or on steps to help you recover money you’ve lost to a scammer, visit And if you spot a scam, you can report it to the FTC at

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.