€ 41.3 billion ($ 47.8) billion lost in scams,


AMSTERDAM, October 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Inside ScamAdviser 3rd Global State of Scams Report, 42 countries were analyzed on the number of people scammed and the amount of money lost.

Growing number of scams

The number of reported scams increased from 139 million in 2019 to 266 million in 2020. The amount lost fell from € 36 (41.7) to € 41 billion (47.8 billion).

While the definitions and reporting methods used by different countries for scams differ greatly, almost all countries have reported a sharp increase in the number of reported scams.

The number of scams and money lost is probably only a small fraction of the true size of online fraud, as less than 3% to 15% of consumers report a scam.

Investment scams are on the rise

The money lost per victim differs greatly depending on the country as well as the type of scam. From less than € 10 for fake shops, counterfeiters and subscription traps to several € 100,000 for ransomware, Business Email Compromise (BEC) and investment / crypto scams.

With the “zero interest” economy and boredom, people, especially men, have turned out to be willing victims of “investment opportunities”. These scams, also known as “pig slaughter”, can last 3, 6 or even 12 months. The scammer forms a trusting and sometimes loving relationship with the victim before inviting them to invest in an “incredible opportunity”.

Countries are getting creative

To combat scams, many countries have resorted to more aggressive annual awareness campaigns. However, the results are mixed. As the scam’s themes change (e.g., pet scams, COVID grants), citizens around the world still seem to fall in love with them, despite previous warnings.

The Center for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB) has recorded more success. He launched an email address to report phishing emails. In 2020, CCB received 3.2 million emails. The data is used to feed Internet filters, protecting Belgian citizens from malicious domains.

Likewise, Pakistan trains CyberScouts, who can be police officers but also students and young people. Objective: to anchor cybercrime awareness in local communities.

Finally, Japan launched Operation “Pretend to Be Fooled”, asking people contacted by a crook to notify the police. The potential victim and the police then work together to catch the criminal. The targeted victim receives a reward of 10,000 yen (€ 77.50 / $ 88).

How to reverse the trend

In many countries, scams are now the most reported form of crime. In Sweden, fraud represented 5% of all reported crimes in 2000. Today, it represents 17% of all reported crimes. In the UK and US, scams are now the most common form of crime. Finally, Singapore states that 44% of all crimes are linked to online scams.

The World Economic Forum estimates that 0.05% of all cybercrime is prosecuted. This makes scams, which are even more underreported than “big cyber crimes”, a very lucrative business.

Online security companies are growing. Trend Micro, for example, is investing heavily in new anti-scam services, such as the Trend Micro Check real-time scam detection tool. In 2021, they have already blocked more than 2.4 billion phishing emails and fraudulent site visits.

While many developing countries are now focusing on educating their populations about cybercrime, several developing countries have learned that education alone is not enough.

Countries like Spain and the Netherlands have made it easier to report online through WhatsApp and Telegram, resulting in more and better data. The American Federal Trade Commission collects all data relating to scams from 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officials.

According to several countries, the next step is for tech giants to take more responsibility, using their own data to better identify and prevent scams.

While the United States, Canada, and Australia have started sharing data on scams, most countries still don’t. Yet, according to ScamAdviser, sharing online fraud data globally is the only real solution to turning the tide of the global scam epidemic.

The full report will be presented at the Global Online Scam Summit and can be downloaded from ScamAdviser.com.


Jorij Abraham, Managing Director
E: [email protected],
Phone. : +31 6 52840039

Related files

Long article – 41 billion people lost in scams v211011.docx

The State of the Global Scams Report – 2021.pdf

Related images

Image 1: Growth in the number of reported scams by country

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  • Growth in the number of reported scams by country

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