Online scam losses up 140% in SC, FBI report says

South Carolinians are reporting losses to online scams that are more than double what was previously reported in 2021.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 5:08 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 at 5:54 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolinians are reporting losses to online scams that are more than double what was previously reported in 2021, according to the new information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The sharp increase shows South Carolina residents lost $42 million to online scams in 2021 and $100 million in 2022, according to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) annual report released Thursday. Seniors, those 60 and older, continue to be one of the biggest targets of these crimes, FBI officials say.

“This latest report shows us a troubling trend, not only in South Carolina, but across the country,” Paul “Reid” Davis, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia Field Office says. “We will continue to address these problems head-on through our law enforcement partnerships and through educating the public on ways they can better protect themselves and their money.”

South Carolinians provided 7,861 reports to the IC3, which is an increase from 5,426 in 2021. In 2022, the IC3 received a total of 800,944 complaints. The full report, which encompasses data from victims in each state, American Territory, and the District of Columbia, shows $10.2 billion in total losses.

The top three schemes with the largest dollar amount losses in South Carolina according to the report were business email compromises, costing residents roughly $46.8 million, investment fraud at $13.5 million and real estate fraud, which cost South Carolinians about $12.4 million.

Avoiding some of these scams can be as easy as getting a second opinion, FBI officials say.

“You’re never going to have a situation where there is no risk in any investment opportunities,” FBI spokesman Kevin Wheeler says. “Bring someone else into the picture and see if it’s something that is worthwhile. And do your research to make sure it’s not a scam.”

FBI officials urge those who believe they’ve fallen victim to an online scam to file a complaint.

You can report online scams to the IC3 by clicking here.

To read the full report, click here.