VIRGINIA (DC News Now) — Scammers have cost Virginians more money than people living in 41 other states, according to a recent cybercrime report from the FBI.

Virginia residents lost nearly $173 million from scams in 2021—a year showing an “unprecedented increase” in online crimes, the report said.

Scammers are increasingly crafty, sneaky and out for innocent people’s money. One recent text scam was sent to a DC News Now reporter about upcoming payments to Virginians eligible for a tax rebate.

The text cited an incoming rebate of “$268.48 has been issued to you for an overpayment in year 2021-2022. Click to Continue:,” which was followed by a link to a website bearing the name of the Internal Revenue Service—IRS.

The IRS does not conduct official business via text messages.

Scammers are known to be opportunistic and reference timely news events or information relevant to the person being targeted.

Whether it’s a flood in a faraway country or an earthquake or the holiday shopping season, they are ready to go on all of these, because the more timely something is, the more likely you are to actually read it,” said Bree Fowler, a reporter who has covered cyber-crime for two decades.

So, can consumers get their money returned after paying bad actors? Fowler says, “it depends on how you paid them… if you paid for something with a credit card you have a lot of recourse actually, there. You can go to your credit card company, your bank and ask for your money back and you’ll probably actually get it.”

However, in the day of cryptocurrency, scammers are going after targeting currency owners. Fowler said if crypto is stolen by scammers it cannot be returned.

The US government urges victims of scams to contact the Federal Trade Commission.