weather icon Clear

Nevada tops list of 2019 fraud reports

CARSON CITY — Nevada registered the highest per capita incidence of reported fraud of any state in 2019, an increase in its ranking over the previous year, according to the latest federal figures.

But the state saw a decline over the same period in the per capita incidence of identity theft, the most prevalent type of fraud, dropping from second to fifth overall among the 50 states.

Nevada’s raw numbers for each category were small because of its population size. It’s the 32nd-most-populous state in the country.

But data compiled by the Federal Trade Commission from consumer complaints put the median dollar loss from fraud in Nevada at $395, second only to Hawaii by $4.

And the actual case numbers are potentially much higher. The Federal Trade Commission’s annual report on fraud and identity theft cases is only one source of data. Complaints in Nevada also get reported to state agencies such as the attorney general’s office or consumer affairs.

And in Nevada, as elsewhere, incidents might not be reported at all, either by people who are embarrassed or just don’t think to do it.

Coinciding with this week’s observance of National Consumer Protection Week, the attorney general’s office is highlighting some of the most prevalent types of scams and how consumers can minimize chances they’ll fall victim to one. The office is also urging fraud victims to make a report.

“We depend on consumers and institutions to come forward and give us information on how they’re being scammed,” said Lucas Tucker, senior deputy attorney general in the office’s consumer protection bureau. “We try to make more people comfortable with the idea of making a complaint.”

The FTC data for 2019 show the following for Nevada:

— More than 27,000 fraud reports, including nearly 7,800 identity theft reports, the top category. Nearly 4 in 10 identity theft cases involved credit card fraud.

— Per capita, Nevada notched 905 fraud reports per 100,000 residents, highest in the nation. The next-highest was Florida, with 835 per 100,000 residents. In 2018, Nevada ranked third overall.

— Nevada’s two largest metropolitan areas were in the top 10 nationally for per capita fraud reports. Greater Las Vegas, including Henderson and Paradise, ranked second behind Homosassa Springs, Fla., a community north of Tampa on the state’s Gulf Coast. Reno ranked eighth.

— Impostor scams were the second-highest category of fraud after identity theft, about one-quarter of all complaints. Such scams include people posing as needy relatives to the elderly, small-business owners who receive supplies they never ordered or job-seeking military vets lured into buying work equipment in employment scams.

Nevada has relatively large populations of such groups, Tucker said. Also contributing to Nevada’s high numbers: Parts of the state have fairly transient populations, he said, and the cost of obtaining a business license in Nevada is relatively low.

Scammers “will set up a sham corporation and get behind a corporate name, which makes it easier to look legitimate, even though they’re not legitimate,” Tucker said.

People can report fraud complaints to the FTC, the attorney general’s office, or Nevada consumer affairs.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Nevada gyms, bars that do not serve food can reopen Friday - VIDEO
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening said Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak says businesses will begin reopening under phase 1 - VIDEO
The first phase of reopening Nevada’s businesses will begin Saturday, May 9, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden denies Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation - VIDEO
The former senate aide claims Biden assaulted her in 1993 when he was a senator. Biden first denied the accusations via a public post on Medium. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RJ interview with Sisolak on the reopening plan for Nevada - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Review-Journal interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak on the plan for reopening Nevada during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak reacts to Goodman CNN interview- VIDEO
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman repeated her call to immediately reopen businesses during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, leading to a reaction from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak praises Nevadans for staying at home, saving lives - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday it’s still too early to know when the state’s COVID-19 shutdown orders could be lifted or when businesses could start to reopen their doors. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump gives governors 3-phase approach to open US - VIDEO
President Donald Trump declared victory in America’s war against the “invisible enemy” as the president’s Coronavirus Task Force released “Opening up America Again” guidelines. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump names Jacky Rosen to task force on reopening economy - VIDEO
President Donald Trump named Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., to be a member of his Opening Up America Again Congressional Group Thursday to advise him on coronavirus policy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president - VIDEO
On April 13, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced his official endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders drops out of 2020 Democratic race for president - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont officially announced an end to his 2020 presidential bid on Wednesday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Democratic National Convention postponed - VIDEO
The Democratic National Convention was set to take place over four days in the middle of July. Democratic officials have now confirmed the convention will take place the week of Aug. 17. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson allows immediate sale of alcohol with curbside pickup - VIDEO
The city of Henderson decided Thursday evening to allow alcohol to be sold by restaurants as part of their curbside pickup service during the COVID-19 crisis. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak signs order banning any gathering of 10 or more people - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday signed a new order banning any gathering of 10 or more people in Nevada in another step the state has taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Takeaways from the president's daily briefing on coronavirus - VIDEO
RJ Washington correspondent Debra Saunders talks about today's daily White House news conference regarding the coronavirus outbreak, Friday, March 20, 2020. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judicial Department 5 Debate - Video
The Las Vegas Review-Journal hosts a debate between the 3 candidates running for Department 5 in Clark County District Court. Participating are Veronica M. Barisich, Terry A. Coffing and Blair Cowan Parker.
Trump cancels Las Vegas trip because of ‘coronavirus outbreak’ - VIDEO
President Donald Trump canceled planned travel to Las Vegas ‘out of an abundance of caution’ amid virus outbreak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump signs $8.3 billion coronavirus package - VIDEO
President Trump signed a bill providing $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreaK, Friday, March 6, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada will expand testing, tracing with federal money

Nevada will commit roughly $221 million in mostly federal money through 2021 to rebuilding state protective equipment stockpiles, expanding COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and preparing a mass vaccination program.