According to data extracted and analyzed by Atlas VPN, the United States residents reported 168,818 imposter scam cases amounting to $299.9 million in losses in the first half of 2020 with a median loss of $694. That is more than two times less than in H1 2019 when the US consumers reported 355,866 imposter fraud cases.
Nevertheless, while the number of imposter scams in the first half of 2020 dropped compared to the same period last year, the amount of consumers who incurred loss due to such scams doubled. It grew from 11% in 2019 to 22% in 2020.
The amount of funds lost to imposter scams also increased by 15%, suggesting that imposter fraud is becoming more sophisticated. It rose from $261.1 million in H1 2019 to $299.9 million in H1 2020.
Rachel Welsh, COO of Atlas VPN, advised on what to do should you encounter an imposter scam: "If you find yourself in such a situation, it is essential to confirm whether the person who is contacting you is truly whom they are claiming to be. If you receive a call from a representative of a certain company or institution, confirm independently whether that entity is really trying to reach you. Secondly, if you find out that you were contacted by scammers, report the incident right away. You should warn the person or the organization being impersonated, as well as the government institutions in charge of dealing with imposter scams. "
Imposter scams most common in California
Imposter fraud was present in all the US states, however, some states had a bigger share of imposter scams than others. The biggest US state in terms of population, California, had 13,312 imposter scams in the first half of 2020 — the most out of all the 50 states.
The number of imposter scams in California dropped by 66% compared to the same period last year. Imposter fraud cases faced by California's residents account for 8% of the total number of imposter scam cases reported by the US residents.
Other states with a significant amount of imposter scams include Florida (10,489), Texas (9,944), New York (7,844), Pennsylvania (4,958), Ohio (4,474), Illinois (4,313), Michigan (4,254), North Carolina (3,893), and Georgia (3,731).
The state with the fewest amount of imposter scams is Wyoming — the least populated US state overall. Wyoming residents reported 165 imposter scams in the first half of 2020, which account for less than 0.01% of the total amount of imposter fraud cases in the US. The number of this type of scams in Wyoming dropped by 56% compared to the first half of last year.
Other US states with a low count of imposter scam cases include North Dakota (187), South Dakota (205), Alaska (261), Vermont (264), Rhode Island (426), Montana (463), Maine (473), Hawaii (488), and Delaware (504).