€36 Billion Lost in Online Scams

Online scams to grow by 40% in 2020

Growth of Online Scams Reported

The volume of online scams and money lost has grown significantly over the past year, states Scamadviser.com based on an analysis of scam data from 31 countries, covering 60% of the world population and 85% of global GDP.

Nearly all countries researched report a growth in the number of scams and money lost. Only Sweden (-6%) and Italy (-9%) reported a decrease in the number of scams in 2019. Due to the coronavirus epidemic, an increase of 40% for 2020 can be expected as more and more consumers move to online shopping.

Online scams are becoming the number one crime

Several countries state that online fraud is becoming the most reported crime. Singapore reported that scams made up 27% of overall crime in 2019, up from 19% in 2018. Likewise, fraud is the most experienced crime in the United Kingdom and the biggest source of consumer angst in the United States. Russia reports that cybercrime's share as part of all crimes may grow from 14% in 2019 to 30% in 2023.

Three percent of the global population got scammed

Based on the analysis of the 30+ countries, 140 million scams were reported. Extended to the global population, 3% of the global population was scammed in one way or another. According to previous research by Scamadviser, anybody can be scammed. Surprisingly, higher educated and high-income consumers get scammed more as they spend more online and take more risks. The total amount of money lost was € 36 billion in 2019 or € 225 per reported scam.  

Scammers are winning

In the last few years, governments have become more aware of the risks of cybercrime. Few countries, however, have given much attention to online scams.

Online fraud is less visible as only 7% of all cases are reported. Especially in developing countries, scam reporting has not yet been centralized and no specialized law enforcement team has been set-up to combat online fraud. Likewise, in countries where police forces are historically set-up decentralized like Germany, Spain, and Switzerland a central approach to scam prevention, reporting, and fighting is still developing. 

Even in countries where online scams are receiving government attention like Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, scam reporting is still spread across multiple organizations such as banks, credit card companies, consumer protection agencies, police forces, public-private partnerships and review sites.

As scammers nearly always operate internationally and spread their scams across multiple countries, the chance of getting identified, investigated, and in the end, caught is very low.

The full report is available online.


Scamadviser.com is used by 2.5 million consumers monthly to check if a website is a scam. Scamadviser's data is also used by police, brand protection agencies, social media, and security firms to fight fraud. Scamadviser is part of the Ecommerce Foundation. Contact: Jorij.[email protected], +31 652840039

[1] Why consumers fall for scams, Ecommerce Foundation (Scamadviser.com), 2019

Source: Ecommerce Foundation (Scamadviser.com)


Tags: Cybercrime, E-commerce, Fraud, Scams

About Global Anti-Scam Alliance

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The Global Anti-Scam Alliance's (GASA) mission is to protect consumers worldwide from scams by raising awareness, enabling hand-on tools, facilitating knowledge sharing, organizing research, and offering training and education.

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Marketing Director, Global Anti-Scam Alliance, Global Anti-Scam Alliance
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