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Security Awareness – Impersonation Scams, the Real Threat?

Security Awareness – Impersonation Scams, the Real Threat?

Created: Tuesday, April 2, 2024 - 13:46
Cybersecurity, Federal & State Resources, Security Preparedness

Data compiled by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network shows that losses from impersonation scams in 2023 top $1.1 billion, three times higher than in 2020. The data was based on 490,000 scams reported to the agency in 2023, 330,000 of which were for business impersonation complaints, and the rest were from government impersonations. Most of the scams were conducted via phone calls, followed by email and text messaging, although the former has been in decline, and the latter on the rise, for the last three years.

These numbers coincide with the FBI’s IC3 2023 Interne Crime Report which indicated $1.3 billion in losses for impersonation scams that run in two categories: tech/customer support and government impersonation. Like the FTC statistics, IC3 shows that impersonation scams are on the rise with government impersonation up 63% since last year.  

FTC highlights the top five scam types which include copycat account security alerts, phony subscription renewals, fake giveaways or discounts, bogus problems with the law, and made-up package delivery problems. These top five scam types make up half of the 2023 reported scams. The FTC announced yesterday that new impersonation rules are coming into effect which aim to give the agency enhanced capabilities to pursue scammers in federal courts for restitution.

While these types of scams are not new, the reports indicate they are currently on the rise and have been for some time. WaterISAC encourages members to be aware and vigilant about impersonation scams, review the most common themes, and educate employees to recognize such attempts. For more information, see and Bleeping Computer.