April 13, 2023

This Interactive Map Shows the Most Common Scams in Your Area

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Woman looks at map on laptop

Photo: Rawpixel.com (Shutterstock)

When it comes to scams, knowledge is always power; you’re much less likely to fall for a scam if you’re aware of its existence. And for certain scams, you may be more susceptible to being targeted simply by where you live.  

The Consumer Sentinel Network, part of the Federal Trade Commission, has investigative cyber tools that help law enforcement access millions of reports on identity theft, unwanted calls, fraud, scams, and other illegal activities. One such tool, the Tableau Public, is an interactive map tool that shows fraud and identity theft broken up by states and metro areas—and it’s open to the public.

You can see the fraudulent activity in your area in five different views:

  • All reports by state
  • Fraud by state
  • Fraud by metro area
  • ID theft by state
  • ID theft by metro area

The “fraud by state” tab will give you the top 10 scam categories in whichever state you click on. This is the most broad level view on the map. If you’re interested in a more micro level, take a look at the “Frauds by Metro Area” and see the zoomed-in version. This will break the state into metro areas, with most combining a couple of counties together.

To get the break down of the area you’re interested in, simply click it on the map. You can also compare multiple areas with one another by holding control (command on Mac) and clicking the areas you want to compare.

As of this writing, it uses data from quarter four of 2022 from the FTC, but they update the maps once new date is available. You can also look at previous years and quarters.

The data on the map represent people who have reported fraud, scams, or bad business practices to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Depending on the nature of the fraud, it could mean people in your area are falling for the same online scam (say, it’s a scammer in Russia targeting your neighborhood), or it could mean people in your area are being swindled by a local scammer. Unfortunately, there is no way to go deeper on the map other than looking at the frequency and category of the scam in the area you select. But you can always check out reports from the FTC on whichever scams or frauds you want to look deeper into.

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