If you ever wonder why federal agencies keep track of crime data, it’s because law enforcement agencies use those statistics to know where to invest additional investigative and financial resources.
Data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released their annual report lists the most prevalent fraudulent schemes this past year. Law enforcement agencies are likely to use that data to help them reign in their investigative efforts and make consequent arrests. You may find it helpful to know this information if you stand accused of fraud and need an advocate who will fight for you in your case.
The most common types of fraud reported
There were 2.1 million reports of fraud in 2020. The five top types of fraud in order of how often consumers reported them were:
- Imposter scams
- Online shopping
- Internet services
- Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries
- Telephone and mobile services
At least 34% of the individuals targeted by these alleged fraudulent schemes claim to have lost money. An estimated $1.2 billion in losses resulted from alleged imposter scams, whereas online shopping fraud resulted in $246 million reported losses.
Upticks in reports of identity theft
One other type of offense that often falls under the umbrella of fraud is identity theft. There was a significant uptick in the alleged occurrence of that, also, in 2020.
The number of identity theft reports made in 2020 was 1.4 million, twice that of the previous year. At least 406,375 of them resulted from someone allegedly using a person’s information to obtain unemployment insurance or other government benefits illegally. There were only 23,213 such cases in 2019.
What you need to know about fraud charges
Law enforcement invests significant financial and investigative resources in tracking down individuals that they suspect of fraud. You have a valid reason to worry about your future if law enforcement has recently arrested you on such charges. They only know one side of the story, however.
Consult with an attorney to learn more about your rights and the potential defense strategies you can pursue.