Study says Mexico is third among the countries that see the most scams


Fraud and scams happen all around the world – there were over 260 million scams across the globe in 2021, and total losses added up to around €41.3 billion – 15% more than the previous year.

But which country is targeted the most by scammers?

We gathered the data to find out which countries are targeted and lose the most money to scams, as well as those who do not see as many or lose as much money to them.

Read on to find out which countries have seen the biggest increases and decreases in scams and why.

Brazil has the highest number of scams

The research revealed that Brazil was the country that saw the most scams in 2021, with an estimated total of 125,410,052 scams across the country, and around 590 scams per 1,000 people in 2021.

India had an estimated total of 120,000,000 scams, with around 87 scams per 1,000 people – putting them in second place for the number of scams.

No. of scams per 1,000 people in 2021

Between 2019 and 2020, Brazil saw its online fraud cases grow by 28%, and India saw a huge surge in scams during COVID-19 – credit card/banking scams were the most popular type of scam in India during this time.

The USA remains the main target for online scams.

CountryNumber of scams per 1,000 peopleEstimated Total Number of Scams

India lost the most money to fraudsters

India was the country that lost the most money to scams in 2021, with the estimated value lost being €21,274,800,000 – the average amount lost per case in India was €87 and the average amount lost per person in 2021 was €15.42.

Germany was the country that saw the highest amount lost per person at €37.14 – their total estimated value lost was €3,091,757,596.

Estimated value lost per country in 2021

Although China saw a lot of scams, the country did crack down on online fraud in 2020, arresting 361,000 people (121% more compared to 2019).

It was found that South Korea is being heavily targeted by crypto scams.

The USA remains the main target for online scams.

CountryTotal Value Lost (€)Total Lost Per Case (€)Total Lost per Person (€)
South Korea387,597,02118587,49

The Philippines aren’t targetted as often

Of all the countries that were researched, the Philippines appears to be the safest from scams, with zero scams per 1,000 people, and a total of 1,738 scams country-wide.

Portugal is also fairly safe for scams, however, they were targeted more than the Philippines, with around 0.1 scams per 1,000 people and 1347 scams in total.

No. of scams per 1,000 people in 2021

Saudi Arabia has recently been making an effort to fight cybercrime, and the fact they’re third on this list shows it’s paying off!

Despite still being on the ‘safe’ list, France has seen an increase in cybercrime, and Poland reported an increase in Phishing attacks, however, Poland is committed to expanding the cyber team within its police force.

CountryNumber of scams per 1,000 peopleEstimated Total Number of Scams
Saudi Arabia0.26,595
South Africa0.527,928

Portugal lost the least amount of money to scams

Portugal is evidently one of the countries that are fairly safe from scammers – as well as being one of the countries with the least number of scams, they are also the country that has lost the least amount of money to scammers.

In total, Portugal has lost around €1,334,877 to scams – losing around just 0.07 per capita, and €991 per case.

Argentina is in the second position for the least amount of money lost to scams, losing €6,205,486 in total, €486 per case, and 0.14 per person.

Estimated value lost per country in 2021

Despite the above countries losing the least amount of money to scams and remaining the safest countries from scams when compared to other countries, many of them have still seen an increase in scams due to the pandemic, including Argentina, New Zealand, Poland, and more.

In fact, the only country on this list that has actually seen a decrease in scams is Belgium.

CountryTotal Value Lost (€)Total Lost Per Case (€)Total Lost per Person (€)
New Zealand21,658,44410764.26

Money lost vs GDP

We looked at each of these countries’ Gross Domestic Product value and worked out which countries lost the highest percentage of their GDP from scams.

GDP loss due to scams

Kenya saw the biggest loss when comparing the estimated lost value to their country’s GDP, with a total loss of 0.3%. Turkey had the second-highest percentage loss at 0.2%.

CountryTotal Value Lost (€)Countries GDP (€)GDP loss (%)
South Africa79,231,777286,729,525,0000.027

The countries that have seen the biggest increase in scams

Despite many people being aware of scams, and many countries doing their best to prevent them, unfortunately, some countries are struggling with this, and the number of scams in 2021 increased a lot when compared to last year:

  1. Nigeria – 186% increase in scams
  2. Poland – 116% increase in scams
  3. Pakistan – 97% increase in scams
  4. Taiwan – 93% increase in scams
  5. India – 85% increase in scams

Interestingly, both Poland and Nigeria are in the top ten for the least amount of money lost to scams, and countries that have been targetted least, yet they have seen a high increase – Nigeria, in particular, saw a huge increase in scams during COVID-19.

India is the country that has lost the most money to scams and is also in the second position when it comes to the total number of scams – despite this, the number continues to grow, with COVID-19 also bringing a lot more scams to the country.

The countries that are handling scams

Whilst many countries are aiming to get these numbers lower by working with police forces or setting up websites and emails to advise and report scammers, there are a few countries in particular whose efforts have really paid off and have seen fewer scams than they did last year, or a much smaller increase:

  1. Belgium – 14% decrease in scams
  2. Switzerland – 11% decrease in scams
  3. Japan – 5% decrease in scams
  4. Netherlands – 1% increase in scams
  5. United Kingdom – 6.5% increase in scams

It’s great to see that countries are working on preventing scams, with both Belgium and Japan seeing a decrease, despite them already being some of the safest countries from scams.

Japan in particular has really been fighting against scams – residents in Japan can actually earn money from scamming a scammer with a crime-fighting program named ‘Pretend to be fooled.’ The program asks people who have been contacted by someone claiming to be a family member or friend in need of cash to notify the police – the potential victim and police then work together to catch the scammer, and the targeted victim later receives 10,000 yen (€77.50).

To find out more about the most popular types of trading scams, and some helpful tips on how to spot and avoid scams, as well as what to do if you do fall victim, check out this article.


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About The Author

Filippo Ucchino

Co-Founder – CEO – Broker Expert Filippo is the co-founder and CEO of He has 15 years of experience in the financial sector and forex in particular. He started his career as a forex trader in 2005 and then became interested in the whole fintech and crypto sector. Over this time, he has developed an almost scientific approach to the analysis of brokers, their services, and offerings. In addition, he is an expert in Compliance and Security Policies for consumer’s protection in this sector.

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