(QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It seems like every year scammers are getting better at what they do, so good that the FBI’s Internet Crime Department says over 847,000 scam victims lost nearly $7 billion dollars in 2021 alone. Nearly 16,000 of those people were from the Carolinas.
“Scammers are really becoming very good at what they do. I think that more people are being taken advantage of because of the schemes that these folks are coming up with,” FBI Public Affairs Representative Kevin Wheeler told Queen City News in a phone interview.
So good, that according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Department, over the last five years it’s received nearly three million scam complaints with billions of dollars lost.
The department’s recent internet crime report says the top three schemes with the largest losses included business email compromise at $17.2 million, confidence/romance scams at $6.8 million, and tech support scams at $4.6 million.
Wheeler says it’s because people aren’t taking the proper precautions to protect themselves. He says if you have fallen victim, report it immediately.
“This helps us look at what happened and, in some cases, we can stop that flow of money in its track. We work with bank partners across the country and across the world so that we can hopefully help locate where these folks are and what they’re doing,” Wheeler said.
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Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office Representative Janet Parker shares those sentiments. She says the office receives complaints about scams all the time.
The most recent is a false citation scam where the individuals give you a fake citation number and two ways to handle the payment. Parker says the two options should be dead giveaways that it’s a scam.
“They’re being directed to come down to 801 East 4th street with a valid ID and you’re at arrest processing and stay in a holding cell 8-12 hours, which sounds odd because it is odd. They’re also instructed to come to that office to pay and receive a federal receipt – well, of course, we’re a county agency so why would you get a federal receipt?” Parker said.
She says if you receive a call like this, let the Sheriff’s office know. However, the Sheriff’s office will never call you about anything like this.
The FBI says most of the victims fall between 40 and 70 years old. That age group lost over $4 million dollars in 2021.
Officials say talk to your loved ones and warn them not to click on any links in their emails, texts, or answer calls from numbers they don’t know, even if the area code matches theirs.
If not, they may be the next victim of a scam.