The FBI has released a study stating that in 2022, the agency received reports of over $10 billion in damages due to internet frauds, the largest annual loss in the previous five years. From 2021 to 2022, there was a near-tripling of allegations of online fraud related to cryptocurrency investments. The cost of hacking and other schemes to the U.S. economy may be estimated with the help of the FBI’s annual Internet Crime Report, which includes a tally of complaints about fraud of all kinds, from marketing scams to ransomware.
More than two-thirds of all recorded losses from “call center fraud” were from victims over the age of 60, showing that the elderly bore the brunt of many digital frauds. Scammers pull off this type of fraud by calling people and pretending to be from tech support or the authorities. While ransomware has received a lot of media attention, business email compromise (BEC) hacking schemes have taken far more money from victims. The target of a business email compromise (BEC) is generally duped into sending money to the perpetrator by someone pretending to be a client or a family.
Lexington, Kentucky lost roughly $4 million in federal money for housing aid due to BEC fraud last year, which was one of the most high-profile incidents. Around $34 million in adjusted losses were reported to the FBI last year due to ransomware, which locks systems until hackers are paid off, however many victim companies still do not report ransomware assaults to the FBI. According to the FBI, Hive, a prevalent kind of ransomware, was employed in 87 separate incidents in 2017. Earlier this year, the FBI confiscated the computer infrastructure used by Hive operations, but not before hackers connected to the ransomware extorted more than $100 million from victims worldwide.
In addition to the monetary losses, victims of internet fraud also suffer psychological and emotional distress. To safeguard vulnerable people from internet frauds, policymakers and law enforcement will need to continue developing new tactics.