US Loses $39.5B to Phone Scams Yearly: Protect Yourself Now

Lukas Narusevicius

Lukas Narusevicius

May 29, 2024
In the United States, phone scams have become an alarming and widespread issue, causing significant financial losses to individuals and families.

The Staggering Cost of Phone Scams in the US: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

In the United States, phone scams have become an alarming and widespread issue, causing significant financial losses to individuals and families. According to the 2022 US Spam & Scam Report, Americans lost a staggering $39.5 billion to phone scams in just one year. As scammers become more sophisticated and targeted in their approach, it is crucial to understand the extent of this problem and take proactive measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

The Shocking Numbers Behind Phone Scams

The 2022 US Spam & Scam Report reveals some startling statistics about the impact of phone scams on American citizens. The report found that 68.4 million people were affected by phone scams, with an average loss of $580 per person. These numbers highlight the widespread nature of the problem and the substantial financial burden it places on individuals and families.
Furthermore, significant financial losses due to spam phone scams are particularly prevalent among American seniors. Older adults are often targeted by scammers due to their perceived vulnerability and potential access to retirement savings or other financial resources.

Older Adults: The Most Vulnerable Targets

Older adults, especially those over the age of 80, are disproportionately targeted by phone scammers. According to an FTC study, fraud among older adults is often underreported, making it difficult to assess the full extent of the problem. Several factors contribute to their vulnerability, including a more trusting nature, lack of awareness about modern scams, and potential cognitive decline that may impair their judgment.
Elder financial fraud is a growing concern, with scammers employing various tactics to deceive and exploit older adults. Some common scams targeting seniors include imposter scams (posing as government officials or family members in distress), lottery and sweepstakes scams, and tech support scams.

The Double-Edged Sword of Technology Adoption

As older adults increasingly adopt technology, they may become more susceptible to sophisticated scams. Pew Research data shows that technology use among seniors has been steadily rising, with more older adults using smartphones, social media, and other digital platforms. While this increased access to technology can provide numerous benefits, it also exposes them to new types of scams and fraud.
The FTC's recent findings on the fraud threats faced by older consumers highlight the need for targeted education and protection measures. As scammers adapt their strategies to exploit the growing tech-savviness of older adults, it is essential to empower seniors with the knowledge and tools to identify and avoid potential scams.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones

One potential solution to combat phone scams is ScammerBlock, a service designed to help individuals and families protect themselves from fraudulent calls. ScammerBlock works by identifying and blocking potential scam calls, as well as providing users with information about the nature of the call and the associated risks.
Compared to competitors like Truecaller, Hiya, and Nomorobo, ScammerBlock offers a comprehensive set of features tailored to the needs of individuals and families. In addition to call blocking and identification, ScammerBlock provides resources and guidance on safeguarding seniors from phone scams, making it a valuable tool for those looking to protect their loved ones.

The Importance of Reporting Phone Scams

While proactive measures like using ScammerBlock can help protect individuals and families from phone scams, it is equally important to report these incidents to the proper authorities. Reporting phone scams plays a critical role in combating this growing problem and helping to prevent others from falling victim to similar scams.
When you report a phone scam, you provide valuable information to law enforcement agencies and consumer protection organizations. This data helps them identify patterns, track the activities of scammers, and develop more effective strategies to combat fraudulent calls. By speaking up, you contribute to a collective effort to disrupt scammers' operations and bring them to justice.
If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a phone scam, it is crucial to take action as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take:
  1. Contact your local police department: File a report with your local law enforcement agency, providing as much detail as possible about the scam and any financial losses incurred.
  1. Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Visit the FTC's complaint website or call their toll-free number to report the scam. The FTC maintains a database of consumer complaints, which helps them identify patterns and take action against scammers.
  1. Notify your state's Attorney General: Each state has a consumer protection division within the Attorney General's office. Contact them to report the scam and seek guidance on additional steps you can take.
  1. Inform your phone carrier: Contact your phone carrier to report the scam call and inquire about any available blocking or filtering services they offer.
By taking these steps, you not only protect yourself but also contribute to a safer community by helping to prevent others from falling victim to similar scams. Remember, vigilance and community action are essential in the fight against phone scams.

Staying Informed and Proactive

In addition to reporting phone scams, staying informed about the latest tactics used by scammers is crucial in protecting yourself and your loved ones. Scammers continuously adapt their strategies to evade detection and exploit new vulnerabilities, so it is essential to stay up-to-date on the most recent scam trends.
One effective way to stay informed is by regularly visiting reputable consumer protection websites, such as the FTC's Consumer Information page or the AARP's Fraud Watch Network. These resources provide valuable insights into the latest scams, along with practical advice on how to avoid them.
Another proactive measure is to educate your loved ones, particularly older adults, about the risks of phone scams and the importance of maintaining a healthy skepticism when receiving unsolicited calls. Share stories of recent scams, discuss the tactics used by scammers, and emphasize the importance of never providing personal or financial information over the phone unless they initiated the call.

Safeguarding Seniors from Phone Scams

Given the disproportionate impact of phone scams on older adults, it is crucial to take extra precautions to safeguard seniors from these fraudulent activities. In addition to the general tips mentioned above, here are some specific steps you can take to protect your elderly loved ones:
  1. Encourage them to use scam blocking services: Help your elderly loved ones set up services like ScammerBlock on their phones to filter out potential scam calls.
  1. Establish a family communication plan: Create a system where your elderly loved ones can easily verify the legitimacy of a call by contacting a trusted family member before providing any information or taking any action.
  1. Monitor their accounts: With their permission, regularly review your elderly loved ones' financial statements and phone bills for any suspicious activity or unauthorized charges.
  1. Encourage them to trust their instincts: Remind your elderly loved ones that it is okay to hang up if a call seems suspicious or too good to be true. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to push their victims into making hasty decisions.
By taking a proactive and informed approach to phone scam prevention, you can help protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the devastating financial and emotional impact of these fraudulent activities.


Phone scams have become a pervasive and costly problem in the United States, with Americans losing billions of dollars each year to fraudulent calls. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to these scams, often falling victim to sophisticated tactics and suffering significant financial losses.
As technology adoption among seniors continues to rise, it is crucial to take proactive measures to protect them from the growing threat of phone scams. Services like ScammerBlock offer a comprehensive solution, combining call blocking and identification with resources and guidance tailored to the needs of individuals and families.
However, safeguarding against phone scams is a collective responsibility. By staying informed, educating our loved ones, and reporting suspicious activities to the proper authorities, we can all contribute to a safer community and help prevent others from falling victim to these fraudulent schemes.
Remember, vigilance and proactive measures are key in the fight against phone scams. By working together and utilizing the tools and resources available, we can protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities from the devastating impact of these criminal activities.

Related Reading

  1. Understanding the Different Types of Phone Scams
  1. The Importance of Reporting Phone Scams
  1. How to Protect Your Elderly Loved Ones from Phone Scams