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How Much Do Scam Text Messages Cost Americans?



See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

A chart with the amount of money Americans lost from scam text messages in the year 2022.

How Much Do Text Message Scams Cost Americans?

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They’re a nuisance for the majority of the population that can spot them from a mile away, but falling prey to scam text messages can come with a real cost. Identity theft, access to sensitive banking information, and then actual financial repercussions are the usual route these scams end up taking.

We visualize the amount of money that Americans lost from scam text messages in the year 2022. These figures are sourced from reports filed to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), accessed via USA Facts.

Ranked: Type of Text Message Scams by Cost to Americans

At the top of the list, and costing Americans nearly $150 million in 2022, the most lucrative type of text message scams are related to investments and investment advice. Interestingly they’re some of the least reported ones, amounting to fewer than 6,000 filed complaints, which means the cost per scam is much higher than other categories.

RankTypeTotal Amount Lost (2022) Number of Reports
1Misc. investments and
investment advice
2Business imposters$35,060,000104,900
3Romance scams$33,700,0008,300
4Job and employment
5Government imposters$10,800,00019,600
6Fake check scams$8,460,0005,900
7Prizes, sweepstakes,
and lotteries
8Online shopping$5,500,0009,300
9Medical treatments
& cures

At second place—by quite a distance—are scams with people impersonating businesses, tricking Americans out of nearly $35 million in 2022, and responsible for more than one-third of all fraud reports.

Meanwhile, “Romance” scammers don’t just steal hearts—they steal money too, close to $34 million, per the data. Using a variety of tools to create cyber identities, finding potential victims on dating apps, and then tricking people into sharing personal information is a common route they take. The FTC even has a whole page dedicated to the most-used lines these scammers use to work their way into unsuspecting people’s lives.

Employment scams, and government imposters round out the top five by cost to Americans: around $16 million and $10 million each.

In total, Americans lost $9 billion to scammers in 2022—across all types of fraud—including text messages, phone calls, emails, and social media. Text messages accounted for 22% of all fraud reports (329,599 in total) and 6% of text message scams in 2022 resulted in money being lost.

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