About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Impostor Scams Drain $10 Billion from Americans in 2023: Red Flags to Watch Out For

Here's everything you need to know to avoid falling victim to such scams.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Zanyar Ibrahim
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Zanyar Ibrahim

National Consumer Protection Week serves as an annual reminder for individuals to familiarize themselves with their consumer rights to safeguard against fraud and scams. Reports from the Federal Trade Commission revealed staggering losses of $10 billion to scammers in 2023 alone, with the most prevalent scheme being the impostor scam.


The impostor scam is a deceptive tactic wherein fraudsters impersonate legitimate entities such as bank employees, major brands like Amazon, government officials, and even law enforcement officers. Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office warns, "It's one of the scams that doesn't go away. It just keeps evolving."

"They're giving real names like they would give Sgt. Enriquez, my badge number, my phone number to my office — all of that information is public record," he adds.

Exploiting personal details of their victims, these scammers fabricate alarming scenarios, such as claiming warrants for arrest. Sometimes they resort to playing radio and siren noises during phone calls to intensify the sense of urgency and fear.

"No law enforcement agency will call you and ask you for money and to put it on a gift card, a debit card, whatever it is — it's not going to happen. It's completely false, and please don't fall victim," explained Sgt. Enriquez.


Beyond law enforcement impostor scams, other schemes prey on individuals' aspirations and vulnerabilities. Brian Watson, a spokesperson for an organization dedicated to raising awareness about scams, said, "The romance scam is particularly nasty." 

These scams, often taking on a cryptocurrency dimension, can result in devastating financial losses, as seen in a case where an Arizona victim lost everything, including her home, under the guise of investing in Bitcoin through an online partner.


Watson emphasizes the importance of understanding any banking or investment venture fully before committing, particularly when it involves cryptocurrency. "The thing with these crypto scams [is] the losses are not in the tens of thousands, they're typically in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," he states.

The key takeaway for consumers is to exercise caution and skepticism in the face of unexpected or emotionally charged communications. Taking a moment to pause, assess, and verify the legitimacy of requests can safeguard individuals against falling prey to scams.

Above all, never send money to unfamiliar or dubious sources, especially when alternative payment methods like gift cards are requested, as they often signal a fraudulent scheme in play.