More than 60% of Americans say they’ve been duped by an online scam

5 min readDec 13, 2019


The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with MoneyGram, revealed the percentage of Americans who have been a victim of scam. (Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash)

Just one in 10 Americans have NOT been a victim of a fraud, scam, data breach, identity theft or social media hacking, according to new research.

And the survey of 2,000 Americans found the most common digital threat people have fallen victim to is a scam.

A whopping 63 percent of those studied revealed they have, unfortunately, been a victim of a scam, like falling for a romance request or transferring money to someone they’ve never met.

Results revealed 56 percent have also been victims of fraud while a further 54 percent of those studied have also had their social media accounts hacked.

The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with MoneyGram, examined the commonly experienced digital threats of 2,000 Americans and uncovered nearly half (49 percent) have been victims of a data breach.

Unfortunately, it’s the way Americans choose to engage with some of the bigger digital red flags that leaves them worried about their digital information and presence. One in 10 would engage with a call from an unknown number and with an email from an unknown sender.

But that’s not all that Americans would fall for. One in eight would engage in a romance request from someone they’ve never met in person while a further one in nine would engage with a job offer from a place they never applied and in an email from a sender with a company similar to — but not quite the same as — a global company.

It’s no wonder then that half (50 percent) of those surveyed would consider living off the grid to ensure their digital safety.

While Americans are worried about their digital security, information and presence, there are some key red-flags they were able to point out.

Forty-eight percent of those studied correctly said that having someone ask to send money, money order or wire transfers was a huge digital red flag while a further 47 percent revealed asking to send a portion of money to get a larger sum of money was a digital no-no to them.

In fact, 44 percent of those studied correctly knew to be concerned should they receive a call from a government agency asking for money to avoid jail time.

“As valuable as our money transfer services are to the world, without proper controls they can unfortunately be used for harmful purposes,” said Kamila Chytil, chief operating officer at MoneyGram. “Increased internet usage, sharing our lives on social media and the growth of non-face-to-face interactions are just a few factors that put consumers at risk and make it more important for financial services providers to help protect and educate our customers.”

When it comes to worrying about the digital information available to hackers and scammers, the concern is very real.

The biggest worries among those studied are having their personal information revealed in a data breach (53 percent), having their money stolen from an online money management tool or bank (52 percent) and having their social security number stolen (52 percent).

That was followed by silent malware that specifically targets online banks (50 percent) and becoming a victim of fraud (47 percent).

That being said, there are a number of steps people can take to protect themselves — particularly when shopping online.

While a third of those studied haven’t taken precautionary measures to protect themselves when shopping online, they really should.

When it comes to precautionary measures people can take, 59 percent keep their passwords private to secure their digital information.

Fifty-five percent have used a third-party money source to protect their information on the world wide web while a further 53 percent avoid any phishing emails.

But that’s not all people do to protect their personal and confidential information from getting into the wrong hands. Over half (51 percent) avoid oversharing on social networking sites while another 49 percent are careful to use security software to protect their information online.

“We try to understand what the fraudsters do and who they target so we can address the issues properly,” Chytil said. “One way we do that is by having the strictest identification requirements in our industry for sending and receiving money — we require ID starting at $1 — so that we can identify and stop fraudulent activity and protect our customers’ money and wellbeing.”


  1. Scams 63%
  2. Fraud 56%
  3. Social media hacking 54%
  4. Data breach 49%
  5. Identity theft 47%


  1. Asking to send money, money order or wire transfers 48%
  2. Asking to send a portion of money to get a larger sum of money 47%
  3. Call or email saying data/social security number has been compromised 44%
  4. Call from a government agency asking for money to avoid jail time 44%
  5. Their company name is similar, but not the same, as a well-known company 42%


  1. Wire transfer 53%
  2. Social security 46%
  3. Long-lost relative who happens to be royalty or famous 44%
  4. Tax information 43%
  5. Business loans 40%
  6. Long-lost relative 39%
  7. Romance 38%
  8. Employment opportunity 37%
  9. Charitable or philanthropic cause 33%
  10. Urgent 33%


  1. Having personal information revealed in a data breach 53%
  2. Having money stolen from an online money management tool 52%
  3. Having social security number stolen 52%
  4. Silent malware that specifically targets online banks 50%
  5. Becoming a victim of fraud 47%


  1. Keep passwords private 59%
  2. Use a third-party money source 55%
  3. Avoid phishing emails 53%
  4. Avoid oversharing on social networking sites 51%
  5. Use security software 49%

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