Consumers in Japan sought advice on social media-related problems in 80,404 cases in 2023, a record high, an annual government report showed Friday.

Consumers in their 50s or older were particularly prone to troubles on social media, such as fake brand goods sales and fictitious currency investment deals, seeking advice from authorities in some 18,500 cases, according to the 2024 consumer affairs white paper, adopted at a Cabinet meeting the same day.

In 2023, the total number of consumer consultation cases stood at about 910,000 and consumer damage from problematic transactions amounted to a record ¥8.8 trillion ($55.8 billion), up ¥2.3 trillion from the previous year.

The annual paper also showed that 16,298 consumer accidents were reported to the Consumer Affairs Agency in fiscal 2023 through March this year. Among them, serious accidents increased 23% from the year before to 1,658, of which fires, notably those from cars, home appliances and lithium ion batteries, accounted for some 80%.

"If you get involved in trouble, do not hesitate to seek advice from and make use of the agency and the National Consumer Affairs Center, as well as local consumer affairs centers across the country," an agency official said.