On March 22, The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center released its annual report, which found that Americans lost $6.9 Billion to Internet crimes in 2021, a year to year increase of 7% to 2020.
The 2021 Internet Crime Report gives the public a reliable and convenient mechanism to report suspected internet crime to the FBI. The FBI analyzes and shares information from submitted complaints for investigative and intelligence purposes, for law enforcement, and for public awareness.
The top three cyber crimes reported by victims in 2021 were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and personal data breach. Victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, investment fraud, and romance and confidence schemes.
The 2021 Internet Crime Report (pdf) includes information from 847,376 complaints of suspected internet crime—a 7% increase from 2020—and reported losses exceeding $6.9 billion. State-specific statistics have also been released and can be found within the 2021 Internet Crime Report and in the accompanying 2021 State Reports.
New York State’s 2021 Internet Crime report shows a similar pattern to the national numbers, with non-payment-non-delivery, personal data breach, and Identity Theft, the three most common internet crimes commited. New Yorkers lost more than $559 Million to internet theft in 2021.
Business Email Compromise accounted for $2.4 Billion of the total US losses from Internet crime.
Investment Fraud is next at $1.4 Billion; and then Confidence Fraud-Romance at $956 Million. –
Many victims of Romance scams also report being pressured into investment opportunities,
especially using cryptocurrency. In 2021, the IC3 received more than 4,325 complaints, with losses
over $429 million, from Confidence Fraud/Romance scam victims who also reported the use of
investments and cryptocurrencies, or “pig butchering.” The scammer’s initial contact is typically
made via dating apps and other social media sites. The scammer gains the confidence and trust of
the victim, and then claims to have knowledge of cryptocurrency investment or trading
opportunities that will result in substantial profits.
Dont use a Crypto ATM:
Cryptocurrency ATMs: Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) used to purchase cryptocurrency are
popping up everywhere. Regulations on the machines are lax and purchases are almost
instantaneous and irreversible, making this payment method lucrative to criminals. In 2021, the
IC3 received more than 1,500 reports of scams using crypto ATMs, with losses of approximately
$28 million. The most common scams reported were Confidence Fraud/Romance, Investment,
Employment, and Government Impersonation. Read more about crypto ATM scams in IC3 PSA I110421-PSA.10
Cryptocurrency Scams are fast becoming a costly internet crime to those who fall victim to it.
Cryptocurrency support impersonators: Increasingly, crypto owners are falling victim to scammers
impersonating support or security from cryptocurrency exchanges. Owners are alerted of an issue
with their crypto wallet and are convinced to either give access to their crypto wallet or transfer
the contents of their wallet to another wallet to “safeguard” the contents. Crypto owners are also
searching online for support with their cryptocurrencies. Owners contact fake support numbers
located online and are convinced to give up login information or control of their crypto accounts.
Tech Support Fraud resulted in $347 Million in US lossed in 2021.
Tech Support Fraud involves a criminal claiming to provide customer, security, or
technical support or service to defraud unwitting individuals. Criminals may pose as
support or service representatives offering to resolve such issues as a compromised
email or bank account, a virus on a computer, or a software license renewal.
Many victims report being directed to make wire transfers to overseas accounts or
purchase large amounts of prepaid cards. In 2021, the IC3 received 23,903 complaints related to Tech
Support Fraud from victims in 70 countries. The losses amounted to more than $347 million, which
represents a 137 percent increase in losses from 2020. Most victims, almost 60 percent, report to be over
60 years of age, and experience at least 68 percent of the losses (almost $238 million).
Tech support scammers continue to impersonate well-known tech companies, offering to fix non-existent
technology issues or renew fraudulent software or security subscriptions. However, in 2021, the IC3
observed an increase in complaints reporting the impersonation of customer support, which has taken on
a variety of forms, such as financial and banking institutions, utility companies, or virtual currency
While all age groups have millions of victims, 60 and over is the largest age group that falls victim to fraud, with losses in 2021 of $1.68 Billion
The united states, with 466,000 victims, and the United Kingdom, with 303,000 victims in 2021, are by far the two countries with the largest number of internet crimes.
Only Texas and California have more victims that New York State.
With the release of the 2021 Internet Crime Report, the FBI wants to remind the public to immediately report suspected criminal internet activity to the IC3 at ic3.gov. By reporting internet crime, victims are not only alerting law enforcement to the activity but aiding in the overall fight against cybercrime.
To report an online crime or view IC3’s annual reports and public service announcements, visit ic3.gov.
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