FTC Received 2.8 Million Fraud Reports From Consumers In 2021

Federal Trade Commission data shows that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70 percent over the previous year.

The FTC received fraud reports from more than 2.8 million consumers last year, with the most commonly reported category once again being imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams.

Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries; internet services; and business and job opportunities rounded out the top five fraud categories.

Of the losses reported by consumers, more than $2.3 billion of losses reported last year were due to imposter scams (up from $1.2 billion in 2020), while online shopping accounted for about $392 million in reported losses from consumers, up from $246 million in 2020.

Consumer Sentinel Network 2021 Data Book

Image From Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2021

In 2021, the Consumer Sentinel Network took in over 5.7 million reports, an increase from 2020. – Fraud: 2.8 million (49% of all reports) – Identity theft: 1.4 million (25%) – Other: 1.5 million (27%)

In 2021, people filed more reports about Identity Theft (25.0% of all reports), in all its various forms, than any other type of complaint. Imposter Scams, a subset of Fraud reports, followed with 984,756 reports from consumers in 2021 (17.2% of all reports). Credit Bureaus, Information Furnishers and Report Users (10.3% of all reports) rounded out the top three reports to Sentinel.


There were over 984,000 imposter scam reports to Sentinel. Seventeen percent of those reported a dollar loss, totaling over $2.3 billion lost to imposter scams in 2021. These scams include, for example, romance scams, people falsely claiming to be the government, a relative in distress, a well-known business, or a technical support expert, to get a consumer’s money.

Of the nearly 2.8 million fraud reports, 25% indicated money was lost. In 2021, people reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud – an increase of $2.4 billion over 2020.

The median loss for all fraud reports in 2021 is $500. Among the top 10 frauds reported, the median individual losses were highest in these categories: – Investment Related ($3,000) – Foreign Money Offers and Counterfeit Check Scams ($2,000) – Business and Job Opportunities ($1,991)

Telephone was the method of contact for 36% of fraud reports with a contact method identified. Nine percent of those reports indicated a money loss – but that 9% reported an aggregate loss of nearly $692 million, and a $1,200 median loss.

Bank transfers and payments accounted for the highest aggregate losses reported in 2021 ($756 million), followed closely by Cryptocurrency ($750 million), while credit cards were most frequently identified as the payment method in fraud reports.

Of people who reported their age, those aged 20-29 reported losing money to fraud in 41% of reports filed with the FTC, while people aged 70 – 79 reported losing money in 18% of their reports and people 80 and over reported it in 17% of their reports. But when they did experience a loss, people aged 70 and older reported much higher median losses than any other age group.

Identity Theft

Government Documents or Benefits Fraud tops the list of identity theft types reported in 2021. The FTC received 395,948 reports from people who said their information was misused to apply for a government document or benefit, such as unemployment insurance.


Military consumers reported over 110,000 fraud complaints, including 44,039 imposter scams that reportedly cost them over $103 million in 2021.

Top States

The states with the highest per capita rates of reported fraud in 2021 were Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Nevada, and Florida. For reported identity theft, the top states in 2021 were Rhode Island, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, and Georgia.

Source: FTC.gov