Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Report: Scams cost S.C. residents $1.6M in 2017

Staff Report //March 8, 2018//

Report: Scams cost S.C. residents $1.6M in 2017

Staff Report //March 8, 2018//

Listen to this article

The S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs received 1,441 scam reports to its Identity Theft Unit last year. The report shows nearly half of the reports were impostor scams, where scammers will pose as a familiar organization or person and ask for money or personal information.

Consumers' actual losses totaled more than $1.6 million in 2017, and potential losses totaled close to $1 million. March 2017 featured the most total scams at 177.

The department's report shows 49% of reported scams in 2017 were impostor scams. Sweepstakes scams (11%) and debt collection (9%) rounded out the top three. Other categories included phishing (7%), loan (6%), grants (5%), internet (4%) and work-from-home (2%).

Examples of impostor scams include people pretending to be the IRS or technical support personnel, the department said. Fake lottery or sweepstakes offers can come from a cold caller or show up in mailboxes or inboxes. Debt collection scammers attempt to use scare tactics, such as threatening arrest, to obtain sensitive information, including Social Security numbers.

The department advised consumers to be wary of requests for payment by untraceable methods, such as wire transfers or iTunes gift cards. Consumers were also advised that it is impossible to win a prize in a contest the person did not enter.

Scams can be reported by calling 844-835-5322 or going online.

p