Losses due to Internet crimes reached nearly $3 billion USD in 2018: FBI

The U.S. government’s online crime report states that, during the year 2018, the FBI Internet Crime Complaints Center (IC3) received about 352k allegations related to multiple illicit online activities. According to cyber forensics course specialists, these crimes have generated about $2.7 billion USD in losses for the companies and individuals affected.

According to the report, the three most reported online crimes during 2018 are:

  • Deliveries scams (you pay for an online product and it is never sent)
  • Extortion/Blackmail
  • Personal data theft

Cyber forensics course specialists emphasize that, although it is not of the most reported cyber crime, the theft, manipulation or compromising of corporate information/email accounts is the crime that generates the most losses for the victims, with about $1.3 billion USD.

In combating this growing trend, the FBI launched the so-called “Asset Recovery Team” to try to track the illegally extracted assets of companies as a result of hacking activities. Federal agency officials explain that this cybercrime combat brigade works with the Domestic Financial Fraud Kill Chain (DFFKC), a joint effort of law enforcement agencies and financial organizations. This association managed to recover about 70% of the stolen financial assets during 2018.

With regard to trends that have shown greater growth, the report highlights:

  • Payroll diversion: Phishing emails are used to extract victims’ login credentials, access their payroll systems, and redirect payments to criminal-controlled accounts. The FBI received about 100 allegations for this crime, representing losses for almost $100M USD
  • Extortion: This crime increased by 240% over the figures recorded in 2017, reaching losses of more than $80M USD
  • Technical support fraud: Claims for this type of scam increased by 161% in 2018; in addition, this crime has presence in more than 50 countries, accumulating losses for almost $40M USD, said the cyber forensics course specialists

Since the year 2000, when the IC3 began its operations, it has received about 4.5 million allegations for crimes on the Internet. According to the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), people over the age of 60 are the social group most likely to fall into any of these online scams.