The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has logged one million complaints related to online scams in the last 14 months, bringing the IC3 to a total of six million complaints logged.
For context, the agency says it took nearly seven years for the IC3 to log its first million complaints.
"On one hand, the number holds some positive news," said IC3 Chief Donna Gregory in a statement. "People know how to find us and how to report an incident." Gregory said more reporting makes the FBI more effective in investigating cybercrime. "But on the other hand," she added, "these numbers indicate more people are being affected by online crimes and scams."
The IC3 saw complaints increase nearly 70% between 2019 and 2020. The top three crimes reported by victims in 2020 were phishing scams, non-payment/non delivery scams, and extortion. Officials say victims lost the most money to business email compromise (BEC) scams, romance and confidence schemes, and investment fraud. Scams that exploit COVID-19 emerged in 2020. The agency says an increase in crimes reported in 2020 may have also been due in part to the pandemic driving more commerce and activities online.
The IC3 collects and shares its data in an annual report and sends notices about new scams or upticks in certain type of crimes. The latest numbers indicate 2021 may be another record year.
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