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Americans lost $29.8B to phone scams over past year, tripled from 2019

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Americans lost a record $29.8 billion to phone scams over the past 12 months, nearly threefold the estimated loss in 2019, according to a new report.

Nearly one in four Americans reported losing money to a phone scam over the past year, the survey published by Truecaller said, while the size of each victim’s loss rose to $502 on average, up from about $350 a year prior.

The online survey was undertaken in partnership with The Harris Poll in March 2021, Truecaller said. It included more than 2,000 people in the US 18 and older.

The results show the degree to which the COVID-19 pandemic and related work-from-home policies have made Americans more vulnerable to virtual grifters.

The Federal Communications Commission and other government agencies have previously warned about how criminals are taking advantage of Americans’ shift to online communication during the pandemic.

The survey found that younger Americans were actually more likely to lose money in a phone scam, with men between the ages of 35 and 44 proving most likely.

Across generations, almost 60 percent of men reported being scammed compared with just 38 percent of women, according to the report.

And Truecaller found that scams are increasingly happening on mobile phones instead of landlines.

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