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95,000 US residents fell victim to social media fraud in 2021. The total damage amounts to 770 million dollars (690 million euros).

The Federal Trade Commission (US market watchdog) shares the news in a report. One in four of all fraud victims was misled by an ad or post on social media. The combined losses totalled 690 million euros. A huge increase since 2017, when losses were estimated at a meagre 38 million euros. The growth seems to be exponential.


One of the common types of fraud revolves around cryptocurrency. The FTA states that fraudsters contact both strangers and friends to recommend bogus investment opportunities. The fraudster asks for money — often cryptocurrency — and promises huge returns. Victims never see their money again.

Fake ads are popular as well. In about a third of all cases, a victim bought a product in response to an ad on social media. That product was never delivered. Nine out of ten victims fell prey on Facebook.

Where’s phishing?

Phishing is not covered. The FTC bases its numbers on fraud reports from consumers. While social engineering and malicious links are definitely prevalent on social media, cybercriminals typically target employees of organizations. Their reports end up with data and privacy authorities, not the FTC.