COVID an Element in Skyrocketing Cybercrime: FBI Report

The latest FBI Internet Crime Report reveals an explosion of cybercrime
The latest FBI Internet Crime Report reveals an explosion of cybercrime

The FBI released their 2020 Internet Crime report, and cybercrime complaints have increased sharply compared to 2019. 

There were a total of 791,790 internet crime complaints last year, while 2019’s numbers–although substantial–paled in comparison with approximately 467,000. Losses for 2020 totaled more than $4.2 billion. 

The FBI also reported that phishing scams, extortion, and non-payment/non-delivery scams were the top three crimes reported by victims last year. The most money lost by victims was to investment fraud, business email compromise scams, and romance and confidence schemes. 

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) also received 28,500 business and individual complaints related to COVID, as scamming opportunists have been targeting victims since very early in 2020.

“We know that cybercriminals are opportunistic and will look to exploit people’s fears,”
 said UK National Cyber Security Center director Paul Chichester in March of last year, “and this has undoubtedly been the case with the Coronavirus outbreak.

“Our advice to the public is to follow our guidance,” he continued, “which includes everything from password advice to spotting suspect emails.”

According to TechJury, 94% of all malware is spread through email, a new attack happens every 39 seconds somewhere online, and more than half of healthcare providers have experienced at least one data breach in the past year– with the healthcare sector being one of the most targeted.

The FBI asks the public to promptly report any criminally suspicious activity to the IC3 on their website, ic3.gov.  

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