Americans to lose $10.3 billion to cyber scams by 2022, FBI says

The revelation was part of an annual report produced by the FBI.

Americans lost $10.3 billion to various Internet scams last year, according to an FBI report released this month.

The losses were the highest in five years, according to the FBI’s annual report. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) of this office received more than 2,000 complaints per day.

The most reported cases were phishing trips, with 300,497 victims reporting losses of more than $52 million in 2022, according to the bureau. Phishing, defined as “the use of unsolicited email, text messages, and phone calls purporting to be from a legitimate company that requests personal, financial, and/or login information,” is often successful because phishing emails will often resemble those from human victims. that they know personally, prompting them to click on insecure links.

Data breaches and non-payment scams were the next most common internet scams in 2022, claiming 58,859 and 51,679 victims, respectively, according to the report.

Ransomware, a form of online intrusion that freezes a device’s data until a ransom is paid, is a major concern for cybersecurity experts due to the underreporting of ransomware attacks by victims. In 2022, the FBI “received 2,385 complaints identified as ransomware with an adjusted loss of more than $34.3 million,” according to the report.

“IC3 has seen an increase in phishing tactics used to facilitate ransomware. Threat actors pressure victims into paying by threatening to publish stolen data if they don’t pay the ransom,” IC3 warned.

So far, the industry most targeted by ransomware attacks has been the healthcare industry, followed by ‘critical manufacturing’ and government.

“The FBI does not encourage paying criminals,” the report said. “Paying a ransom may embolden adversaries to target additional organizations, encourage other criminals to participate in the distribution of ransomware, and/or fund illegal activities. Paying a ransom also does not guarantee that victims’ files will be recovered.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice cracked down on a gang called HIVE, which was responsible for 87 incidents targeting critical infrastructure, the report said.

Call center scams, originating primarily from India, are responsible for more than $1 billion in losses to victims.

“Call centers are increasingly targeting the elderly, with dire consequences,” the report said. “Almost half of the victims report being over 60 (46%), and they lost 69% (over $724 million).”

Overall, seniors lost $3.1 billion to online scams by 2022, the most of any age group.

The FBI has a 73% success rate in recovering victims’ money, according to the report.

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