Let's dive right in: Is Michigan gullible or have criminals become geniuses? More the latter as the techniques these scammers use become more sophisticated and they are now targeting both younger and older victims.

Related: Michigan Seniors Target for Romance Scammers

Social Catfish, a company whose goal is to eradicate online scams, has compiled data released in 2023 from both the FBI Internet Compliance Center (IC3) and Federal Trade Commission, as well as polling 5,500 victims of romance scams who were members of the Social Catfish Facebook group. They were able to rank the States with the Most Online Scams in 2022 and Michigan ended up on the wrong end of things.

2022 Was a Banner Year for Scammers in Michigan and the United States

According to Social Catfish's findings, here are the key takeaways from the report:

  1. Total Reported Money Lost: A record $10.3 billion was lost to online scams in 2022, up from $6.9 billion in 2021. The average loss per victim was $12,859 in 2022, up from $8,142 the previous year.
  1. 81% of Romance Scam Victims Do Not Come Forward: 4,455 of 5,500 victims polled by Social Catfish said they were too ashamed to come forward and file a formal report with the FBI or FTC.
  2. $200 Billion Estimated Actual Losses in 2022:  Given many online scam victims are too afraid to come forward, we estimate actual losses were closer to $200 billion in 2022.
  3. Only 4.2% of Stolen Funds Were Recovered: The FBI IC3 Recovery Asset Team was only able to recover $433 million, or 4.2%, of the total $10.3 billion lost in 2022. The primary reason is most scams originate from outside the U.S. where law enforcement has no jurisdiction.
  4. Teens & Children See Largest % Increase in Money Lost: In the last five years, money lost by Victims 20 and younger grew nearly 2,500% from 2017 to 2022 compared to 805% for seniors. Victims under 20 lost $8.2 million in 2017 compared to $210 million in 2022. Seniors remain by far the most victimized group overall losing $3.1 billion in 2022, but the surge of young victims speaks to the growing sophistication of scammers.
  1. Apps Where Most People are Scammed: The Social Catfish poll of 5,500 online scam victims found most online scams happen on Facebook with 32%, Google Hangouts with 16%, WhatsApp with 16%, Instagram with 14%, and Plenty of Fish with 16%.
  2. The Future of Online Scams has Arrived With Artificial Intelligence: The explosion of AI has given us a glimpse into the future of scams with new tactics such as ‘voice cloning’ and ‘deep fake’ videos making it look and sound like you are giving money to someone you know, trust or love. It is critical to remain vigilant against these extremely savvy scams.

Let's take a closer look at how Michigan ranked.

Ranking States with Most Online Scams 2022

Click here to read Scamfish's full report.

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