COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – A newly released report by the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) found that residents in the state lost millions to ID theft and scams in 2021.

According to the 2022 Identity Theft and Scams Report, SC consumers lost over $6.4 million to various forms of identity thefts and scams in 2021.

444 identity thefts were reported over the year, accounting for a total of $3,451,579 in actual losses. The most common form of identity theft was financial, which “includes the misuse of existing ATM/debit/credit cards or checks/checking accounts, or opening new credit cards, loans, or utility accounts using someone else’s identifying information.”

Charleston was one of the top three counties statewide in which identity thefts occurred.

738 scams were reported in 2021, accounting for $2,991,577 in actual losses. The most common scam was a “purchase” scam, in which an imposter business tricks the consumer “into paying for fake consumer goods.” Typically the purchase is made online, then no product is delivered.

To avoid falling victim to identity thefts or scams, the SCDCA offered the following tips: