What is the average loss to scam victims?

By Ted Hubert

Milam County TRIAD


The Texas legal website Texaslegal.org dropped some unbelievable statistics on the Internet and I am anxious to pass this on to you. Be honest with yourself and keep score. This is an honor system that trusts those taking the challenge. 

Let’s start the five-question quiz now. What country generates the most scams that target American citizens? The answer is the United States of America. What is the average loss to scam victims? Answer is $2,000. 

How much money is lost each year nationwide? The answer is about 1.7 billion dollars. What percentage of scams are sent from con-artists living in the United States of America to their fellow citizens? The answer is 96 percent. Last but not least question, what age groups are targeted the most?                                                                                                                                           

How many did you get right? My guess was Nigeria, Africa, because the 419 scams were frequently found on my set. The 419 number is the legislative bill number that prohibits this fraud in Nigeria. It seems that many opportunities flow in daily, of course, that was years ago. Bank agents e-mail US Citizens seeking honest people to help con the bank they work in, to release funds to some party with the same last name that just happens to contact the agent. 

It is ironic when you think about these criminals that have (supposedly) responsible positions in a financial instruction advertising for another honest criminal to abscond with funds that does not belong to either of them.  Some wealthy client meets an untimely death through an accident and regretfully his whole family perishes with him. The multimillionaire’s account will default to the state if not claimed. Logically people with the same last name have credentials to submit with a family history, so maybe another name could be admitted to the family tree justifying the funds being transferred to an account in the United States.

No matter how desperate the need for financial security, you do not want to apply for the scams advertising for honest crooks. The person sending the scam wants you to believe you can become rich overnight. Never apply for schemes that seek “honest” thieves. Bad things happen which compounds problems.  Getting involved with a con artist is a losing situation from the get-go.  There are needs for you to send a fee necessary to release the funds or some other tactic, which takes money from you rather than adding cash to your personal checking account. The more you invest the deeper your involvement and the easier the con artists can find other charges to milk the scheme.

Victims are embarrassed and ashamed to admit that greed forced them to make bad decisions.  It becomes important to hide this fact from family members. It is very important that you guard a loved one from falling prey to con-artist, which tricks the victim into giving their hard-earned money away.  Sometimes loneliness allows the elderly to drop their guard and invites outsiders in just for company’s sake. Check to see if the person of your concern goes to town or attends church or other activities, which encourage adults to have conversations with other adults.

Question number two seems difficult to determine for many reasons. There is no way to figure a loss if the victim does not admit to the crime against him/her.  How did the $2,000 amount for the average loss become the final figure?  This must be an educated guess. I am 0-2 so far because I thought the amount would be higher. I must admit that Texasslegal.org has better data than I.

I was nowhere near the figure that ranged into the billions of dollars bracket  Just  think of the number of victims loosing $2,000 that are needed to reach the 1.7 billion amount? This is mind-boggling to say the least.  My score is 0-3.

I guess this means that only 4 percent comes from foreign countries. If you are taking this little quiz, you missed this question, too. Right? Surely this question will keep anyone from having a perfect score.

The Milam County TRIAD membership starts at 60 and above. MCT’s governing body is the SALT Council (Seniors And Lawmen Together).  Seniors are preyed upon so I said the elderly were mostly targeted.  Here is the quote from texaqslegal.org website: “All Ages Are Victim: Most people assume that frauds and scams happen to the elderly, but that’s not the case. Data shows that fraud is just as likely to be reported by people in their 20s as people in their 60s.”

New data shows that the best way to fight fraud is through consumer education. So educate yourself on the most common scams, according to the Texas Attorney General, and make sure to share this with your friends and family:” My score is 0-5.  What was your score?  Tell the truth.