Fraud is at an all-time high after the pandemic. Newly released 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 reported category being imposter scams, followed by online shopping scams. Florida alone had the second-highest number of fraud victims at 53,793, a 98% increase from 2019. There are many types of fraud to watch out for, and during International Fraud Awareness Week it’s important to be aware of some of the most common scams and how to report them.
Know the Common Scams
In our digital age, it’s becoming more common to receive scam phone calls, text alerts, and emails. While many may recognize when something smells fishy, scam artists are becoming more clever in their approach when trying to get people to hand over valuable information. Some of the reported common scams seen nationwide include:
- Banking Scams - attempts to access your bank account. This is commonly seen through fake text alerts or emails from what seems to be your bank.
- Telephone Scams - tries to steal your money or personal information. These may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages.
- Government Grant Scams - looking to get your money by guaranteeing you a grant to cover the cost of college or home repairs.
- Housing Scams – some include fake rental ads, or scammers offering to “help” you make your mortgage payments.
- Prize Scams - trying to get your money or personal information through fake lotteries, sweepstakes, or other contests.
These scams, and many more, can lead to identity theft and the loss of countless of dollars. The common tactics scammers use is trying to gain your trust, appeal to your emotions, create a sense of urgency, and suggest their own verification methods. Use this helpful Spot the Scam Guide to see examples of these common types of scams and how to avoid them.
Resources to Report Fraud
If you fall victim to fraud, there are many resources to help and several ways to report fraud:
- Report any fraud or scam directly to the US Federal Trade Commission online through ReportFraud.ftc.gov
- Report fraud or suspicious activity to the National Insurance Crime Bureau by calling (800)-835-6422 (Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST.) or using their online form on NICB.org
- Report to the state of Florida through FraudFreeFlorida.com or the Insurance Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445
- Report suspicious activity and fraud to us at Florida Peninsula through our Fraud Hotline at (866) 923-2920 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Protect Yourself with Proper Coverage
Should you fall victim to identity theft/fraud Florida Peninsula stands ready to assist you. We offer identity theft expense coverage which can be added to your homeowner’s policy at a minimal cost. This coverage pays for expenses incurred because of any single identity theft or fraud discovered of during the policy period up to a limit of $25,000. To learn more about our identity theft coverage, or to add it to your policy, contact your agent.