Ex-FBI Agent Warns of ‘Tsunami of Fraud’ Facing Americans

As the use of digital services expands, the United States is seeing a dramatic increase in fraud, with yearly losses of up to $137 billion.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), fraud affected 2.6 million Americans in 2022, with losses reaching $9 billion, a fivefold rise in only three years. Nevertheless, it is quite probable that this data only scratches the surface. The actual scope of the issue may be far more significant. Estimates by the DOJ say that only 15% of victims report being scammed.

In contrast to other countries, the United States is taking a disjointed strategy to fight fraud. After deeming the prevalence of internet fraud a danger to economic and national security, the British government revealed a new anti-fraud plan in May. They want to use the nation’s espionage agencies to track out fraudsters all around the world and hire 400 additional investigators as part of their big enforcement drive.

On the home front, the difficulty of enforcing the law is substantial. Scott Pirrello, a deputy district attorney for San Diego County, California, brings attention to an irksome paradox: federal agencies usually seek million-dollar cases when they launch investigations. Individually, our elderly citizens have suffered catastrophic losses in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars— but it’s far from the million dollars required to get our agencies involved.

Due to a lack of authority and resources, local authorities are unable to adequately investigate international organized fraud, leaving many victims with little recourse in the prosecution process.

The US banking system is preparing to provide quick internet payment services, but security experts are warning of new vulnerabilities.

Pirello argues that the real question is whether the American people are prepared to sacrifice some level of convenience when handling their money to ensure its safety.

The banking industry is stepping up its defenses in response to the increasing fraud. Industry heavyweights laid out their strategy in a May Senate subcommittee hearing: heavy spending on cutting-edge anti-fraud tech and a brand new American Bankers Association program for instantaneous interbank communication to detect and stop fraudulent activity.

The banking industry is aware that it is facing an uphill struggle alone. They contend that the present government initiatives are chaotic and fail to stem the increasing number of frauds, thus demanding a cohesive national plan.