Americans will lose $10.3 billion to online fraud in 2022, FBI says

The revelation was part of an annual report compiled 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 bureau’s Cybercrime Complaint Center (IC3) receives more than 2,000 complaints a day.

According to the bureau, the most reported crime was phishing expeditions, with 300,497 victims reporting losses of more than $52 million in 2022. Phishing, defined as “the use of unsolicited emails, text messages, and phone calls purportedly from legitimate companies requesting personal, financial, and/or login credentials” because phishing emails are often linked to email addresses of people known to the victim The email is similar, prompting them to click on an unsafe link.

According to the report, data breach and non-payment scams are the second most common internet scams in 2022, with 58,859 and 51,679 victims, respectively.

Ransomware, a type of cyber intrusion that locks a device’s data until a ransom is paid, is of particular concern to cybersecurity professionals due to under-reporting of ransomware attacks by victims. In 2022, the FBI “received 2,385 complaints determined to be ransomware, with adjusted losses of more than $34.3 million,” the report said.

IC3 warned: “IC3 has seen an increase in additional extortion tactics used to facilitate ransomware. Threat actors force victims to pay ransoms by threatening to publish stolen data without paying the ransom.”

By far the most targeted industry in ransomware attacks is healthcare, followed by critical manufacturing and government.

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

Earlier this year, the Justice Department dismantled a ransomware ring called HIVE that was responsible for 87 incidents targeting critical infrastructure, the report said.

Call center scams, primarily from India, cost victims more than $1 billion.

“Call centers overwhelmingly target older adults, with devastating effects,” the report said. “Almost half of victims reported being over 60 years old (46%), and 69% experienced losses (over $724 million).”

In 2022, seniors will lose a combined $3.1 billion to online fraud, the most of any age group.

The FBI has reportedly had a 73 percent success rate in recovering victims’ funds.

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