A report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has found cybercrime complaints hiked by 100% over a 14-month period.
The IC3’s 2020 Internet Crime Report detailed the number of complaints filed between March 2020 and May 2021. During that time, 1 million complaints were submitted to the IC3.
To put this statistic into perspective, it took the IC3 seven years to reach 1 million complaints between 2000 – the year of its founding – and 2007. Over the last five years, the IC3 has received 2,211,396 complaints, with the majority coming in 2020 at 791,790.
The FBI found the three most common crimes reported over 2020 were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams and extortion, while identity theft was also a common complaint.
In terms of overall cost, victims most commonly lost money to business email compromise scams ($1.8bn), romance scams ($600m) and investment fraud ($336m). Overall, $4.2bn was lost to cybercriminals over 2020.
People over 60 were found to be the most susceptible to cybercrime, with 105,301 victims and a total loss of $966,062,236 recorded. The UK was home to the most cybercrime victims, with a staggering 216,633 people falling victim to cyberattacks. Canada came second with 5,399 and India third with 2,930.
According to the FBI, the rise in complaints is due to the cybercriminals taking advantage of people working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of Covid-19-themed attacks.
The report states, “In 2020, while the American public was focused on protecting our families from a global pandemic and helping others in need, cybercriminals took advantage of an opportunity to profit from our dependence on technology to go on an Internet crime spree.
“These criminals used phishing, spoofing, extortion, and various types of Internet-enabled fraud to target the most vulnerable in our society – medical workers searching for personal protective equipment, families looking for information about stimulus checks to help pay bills, and many others.”
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