Last year, many New Yorkers experienced hardships as the numbers of Covid-19 cases grew in rapid numbers. Multiple restrictions were placed on the City, businesses were shut-down and many lost their jobs. And because of these economic difficulties, certain criminal activities have also seen a sharp increase. One of the crimes which saw an unprecedented growth from 2019 to 2020 is the crime of fraud. The major crimes that increased included the crimes of identity theft, catfishing, investment scams and health-care related scheme.
According to a report published on the website of Office of New York State Comptroller:
“More than 67,000 complaints of identity theft were reported in New York State during 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That was a record number, up 85 percent from the previous year.”The Increasing Threat of Identity Theft, May 2021 from Office of the New York State Comptroller
Moreover, in an annual report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Internet Crime Complaint Center it also shows a drastic increase of fraudulent activities from 2019 to 2020. For instance, identity theft grew from 742 cases to 1576 cases while non-payment or undelivered goods or services ballooned from 3395 cases to 6372 cases from 2019 to 2020.
And with the increasing numbers of victims, the money lost from fraud schemes, also, skyrocketed according to the same report by the FBI. The financial losses from identity theft increased from $9,136,171 for 2019 to $15,761,821 for the year 2020. Losses from lottery or inheritance scam more than doubled to $4,414,146 in 2020 as opposed to $1,562,287 for 2019.
Indeed, all levels of government must double their effort in fighting these fraudulent activities and the public must be more circumspect before they enter into any financial transaction. We need more educational outreach activities to protect our most vulnerable from these scams.
If you are a victim of scams or you want to know more about legal actions that you can take against these perpetrators of fraud, you may schedule a No-Charge Initial Consultation with a New York lawyer: Please Schedule a Call Here.