Reading the FBI IC3’s ‘2020 Internet Crime Report’

Pierluigi Paganini March 18, 2021

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has released its annual report, the 2020 Internet Crime Report, which includes data from 791,790 complaints of suspected cybercrimes.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has published its annual report, the 2020 Internet Crime Report, which provides information from 791,790 complaints of suspected cybercrimes affecting victims in the U.S..

Data that emerged from the report are worrisome, in 2020 the reported losses exceeded $4.2 billion and authorities observed an increase of more than 300,000 complaints from 2019 (+69%).

According to the 2020 Internet Crime Report, the top three crimes reported by victims in 2020 were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion. The novelty this year is represented by scams exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, romance and confidence schemes, and investment fraud. Notably, 2020 saw the emergence of scams exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic. The IC3 received over 28,500 complaints related to COVID-19, with fraudsters targeting both businesses and individuals.” states the post published by the FBI.

In 2020, the IC3 received 19,369 Business Email Compromise (BEC)/Email Account Compromise (EAC) complaints, these crimes caused $1.8 billion in losses.

“In 2020, the IC3 observed an increase in the number of BEC/EAC complaints related to the use of identity theft and funds being converted to cryptocurrency. In these variations, we saw an initial victim being scammed in non-BEC/EAC situations to include Extortion, Tech Support, Romance scams, etc., that involved a victim providing a form of ID to a bad actor. That identifying information was then used to establish a bank account to receive stolen BEC/EAC funds and then transferred to a cryptocurrency account.” reads 2020 Internet Crime Report.

IC3 continues to strengthen the collaboration with industry partners and other law enforcement agencies to reduce financial losses resulting from BEC scams. The IC3 Recovery Asset Team working with its partners has successfully freezed approximately $380 million of the $462 million in reported losses in 2020, a success rate of nearly 82%.

2020 Internet Crime Report

Reading the report, it is possible to note that the impact of ransomware incidents is exhaustively reported, likely because most of these attacks are not reported to law enforcement.

According to the report, losses caused by ransomware attacks increased by 225% from $8.9 million in 2019 to over $29.1 million last year.

Clearly, these figures don’t correctly represent the impact of this specific type of crime.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, 2020 Internet Crime Report)

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