US military personnel and veterans have lost more than $822 million to scams since 2017, according to researchers at AtlasVPN. The researchers analyzed data from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and found that reservists and military families, lost the most money to scams ($484.4 million), followed by veterans and retirees.

“The veterans & military retirees’ financial damages encompass 35% of all losses at $290.1 million,” the researchers write. “This group fell to various types of internet crime most often, as they sent out a total of 452 thousand reports. The median loss in this category is $700. Finally, fraudsters swindled over $47.6 million from active duty service members. This group also submitted the least complaints at 52 thousand since 2017. The median loss for active duty service members is one hundred lower than that of veterans, at $600.”

The researchers found that romance scams were the most damaging type of scam, with military personnel losing $92 million to these fraudsters.

“Even though romance scams have been widely known for quite a while, victims are still not afraid to send large amounts of money to someone they met online, as the median loss to this type of crime stands at $2,400,” AtlasVPN says. “Victims submitted a total of 7,120 romance scam reports to the FTC. The second most damaging internet crime for the US military members was miscellaneous investments. As much as $90.2 million were lost to bogus investments. The median loss is not that far behind romance scams, hovering at $2,000.”

AtlasVPN concludes that everyone should have a healthy sense of suspicion and exercise caution when sending money online.

“To put the findings in the nutshell, even though the US has numerous task forces to deal with this growing epidemic of internet crime, each individual should be cautious and stay on the lookout for any red flags when dealing with internet-related money transfers,” the researchers write.

It might be easy to regard these as a purely personal matter, but of course organizations are generally alert to the well-being of their people. And social engineering in one part of anyone’s life can have repercussions elsewhere. In any case, new-school security awareness training can teach your employees to recognize social engineering attacks.