New Yorkers and people across the nation are being victimized by a plethora of scams.
The Federal Trade Commission reported impostor scams cost New Yorkers almost $600 million between 2022 and 2023.
Across the country, investment scams have caught more people than any other. Scammers cashing in on the cryptocurrency craze took around $4 billion from people in the U.S. in 2022, double the amount people were scammed out of in 2021.
Amanda Grier, an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, said some elements of the scams never change although technology has advanced.
“They have common threads,” Grier explained. “The advice really does hold water, no matter what the technology is, which is, the big promises, the quick returns, the low risk, the ‘you have to do this now.’ That is prevalent through a lot of these money making scams.”
She noted one of the biggest misconceptions people have about scams is it cannot happen to them. Grier advised people to remain alert, adding some red flags for investment scams are promises of big payouts with low risk in a short period of time and a strong sense of high pressure urgency. Anyone looking to report a scam can visit ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
All types of people can be victims of scams. Grier noted the job loss from the COVID-19 pandemic made people more desperate, increasing their susceptibility to scams. She described the commission’s approach to scams and policy surrounding them.
“What we do is, we look at current rules on the books, and we have notice and comment periods where people can speak about their experience with those scams,” Grier outlined. “We’re regularly reviewing rules to make sure they’re up-to-date and modernized.”
The commission proposed a new rule aimed at regulating scams where the scammers impersonate government agencies. If enacted, the new rule would allow the agency to garner relief for consumers through a variety of government and business-impersonation cases.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.