A recent study by the National Consumer League has revealed that romance fraud is still the most financially draining form of scam, taking an average of $2,000 from each victim in 2016.
The study, which offers a list of the top ten scams to watch out for, looked at more than 7,000 consumer complaints regarding scams, to find the most common methods and trends.
The research, published on the National Consumer League’s Fraud.org site, found that romance scams still take the most money from victims, with the average loss coming in at a huge $2,000.
Overall, the cost of falling victim to a scam increased significantly in 2016, Fraud.org found.
In complaints where a loss was reported, the median loss was $600, double the $300 median loss reported in 2015.
And for the fourth year running, fake merchandise scams were the top complaint – scams that offer “too good to be true” prices for popular products.
Another trend noticed by the NCL was that although wire transfers and credit and debit cards remain the payment method of choice for scammers, gift cards are emerging as a new form of fraudulent payment.
In 2016, Fraud.org saw a 30% increase in complaints where the payment method included gift cards, including numerous complaints where scammers asked for payment via iTunes gift cards.