The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides a platform for victims of suspected internet crime to file a complaint. The FBI can then analyze the information for investigation, intelligence dissemination to the public for trends and awareness. It helps the FBI to analyze motives/tactics, evolving threats, and develop methods to stop or mitigate damage to victims.
The “2020 Internet Crime Report” is the annual report that provides the metrics on the reported internet crimes from 2020, the trends that are developing and what is expected this year.
The main highlights of this year’s report include the record number of complaints received (791,790) which is an increase of over 300,000 since 2019. The amount of losses reported is over $4.2B.
The top three areas of crimes reported are phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion. Additionally, unsurprisingly, over 28,500 scams related to COVID-19 were reported.
(Phishing scams – The use of unsolicited email/texts/phone calls purportedly from a legitimate company requesting personal/financial/login credential. Non-payment scams – Goods and services are shipped but payment is not received; Non-delivery scams – Payment is sent but goods are never received. Extortion – Unlawful extraction of money/property through intimidation/undue exercise of authority.)
Another significant trend that has emerged is fraud against elderly people. As a result, the Department of Justice has created the Elder Justice Initiative. Additional information and resources on the type of fraud to look out for are available at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
The report includes statistics broken out by: victim age groups, crime types, loss, and overall state comparisons.
Kentucky is listed as #26 in the number of victims (6,815) and #40 in total victim losses ($12,590,784).
By collecting this data and effectively working with their public and private sector partners, the IC3’s Recovery Asset Team (RAT) is able to freeze transfers that are made by victims under fraudulent pretenses in Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams (to domestic financial institutions). In 2020, RAT attempted to freeze funds in 1,303 incidents which represented over $460M. They successfully froze over $380M which is a success rate of 82%.
The value of information that is provided by this report is directly correlated with the amount and quality of information reported to the IC3. The numbers provided here are only of those crimes that have been reported. It is unknown how many other crimes have been committed that have gone unreported. In order to help IC3 and the FBI find and stop these criminals, it is important that all known or suspected internet fraud be reported. These can be submitted online at https://www.ic3.gov/.
The information you would need to provide includes:
- Victim name and contact information
- Financial transaction info (including amount and who it was sent to)
- Name and contact info and the perpetrator
- Details of the fraud
- Email header
The full report is available at (https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2020_IC3Report.pdf).