How often have you watched the news and heard about the police arresting multiple individuals for the same crimes for what seems like days on end? It’s no coincidence. It happens because law enforcement agencies track crime data and conduct dragnet operations or “stings” based on where those numbers lead them.

The above-referenced police work likely resulted in the federal government’s release of the most common consumer-reported fraud schemes late last year. The recently released Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report chronicles what those are.

What types of fraud were most common in 2020?

The FTC’s data shows that there were at least 2.1 cases of fraud reported across the U.S. in 2020. The leading five top types of fraud that consumers reported were:

  • Internet-based
  • Mobile or telephone
  • Imposter
  • Lotteries, sweepstakes and prizes
  • Online shopping

The data shows that an estimated 34% of these alleged fraud victims reported losing money from these schemes. Federal government estimates suggest that consumers might have lost as much as $1.2 billion to imposter scams and another $246 million to online shopping ones.

Identity theft trended upward in 2020

Federal officials note that there was an uptick in reports of identity theft, a crime that falls under the umbrella of fraud, in 2020. The FTC statistics show that 1.4 million alleged victims filed identity theft reports in 2020, which was double the 2019 number. An estimated 406,375 of them involved the alleged perpetrator using someone else’s information to obtain government benefits. This is significantly more than the 23,213 who allegedly did the same in 2019.

What you to know if you’re facing fraud charges

Law enforcement agencies spend a lot of time tracking down and building cases when they suspect someone may be engaging in fraud. While you should be concerned any time you find out that police are investigating or file charges against you, they only know part of the story. You can present yours at trial. An attorney will want to know more about your side of things so they’ll know how to best craft a defense in your case.