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Victim of fraud in Connecticut? New data show average consumer lost $460

Connecticut consumers reported about $41 million in losses last year to scams. The data, announced Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission, outline more than 21,000 fraud reports from state consumers last year with a median loss of $460.

Data show about 1 in 5 Connecticut fraud reports centered on “imposter scams.”

An imposter scam involves a scammer claiming to be someone you trust who then asks for money. Variations might include a computer technician offering to fix a problem they actually caused, or a fake email from a “relative” (actually a scammer) who asks for quick cash.

Cases of identity theft, which frequently involve scammers misusing a victim’s credit card data or stealing personal information to apply for benefits like unemployment insurance, also ranked very high, accounting for 17% of all Connecticut claims.

The numbers, released as part of the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, are pulled from a variety of sources, including law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau. The Consumer Sentinel Network has tracked fraud cases since 1997. Data announced Tuesday show Connecticut currently ranks 27th nationwide in fraud and other reports per capita. The agency defines “other reports” as deceptive claims related to new and used cars and predatory lending.

Nationwide, the FTC said cases of fraud are skyrocketing.

In 2021, the agency said American consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud, up more than 70% from 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,” the agency said in a news release.

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

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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