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The No. 1 way scam artists fool people into parting with their money

Con artists have never had it so good.

Consumers reported losing $1.48 billion last year to scamsters, fraudsters and their ilk, up 38% on the previous year, according to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission. If all scams were reported to the FTC, experts say, the real number would be even higher.

The biggest losses aren’t from online identity theft. They’re from con artists calling people up and pretending to be from government agencies — such as the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration — and demanding payment or banking details. Fake debt collectors were the second most common type of scam, followed by online identity theft.

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