As the country battled the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, a record number of internet fraud complaints were reported to the FBI.
According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 791,790, complaints with reported losses exceeding $4.2 billion last year. This is up from $3.5 billion in reported losses in 2019.
Business email compromise (BEC) schemes continued to be the costliest, with 19,369 complaints resulting in losses of $1.8 billion. While this is a 19 percent decrease in BEC victims compared to 2019, Andy White, CEO of ClosingLock, pointed out the total amount lost increased 5 percent year-over-year and the average loss per victim increased 29 percent year-over-year.
“While the recovery of assets has also increased during this time period, it still lags behind the staggering losses incurred in 2020,” White said. “It’s also important to remember that these statistics are only based on the internet crimes that were reported to the IC3. Many victims do not file FBI reports.”
In 2020, there were 13,638 victims of real estate fraud with $213,196,082 in reported losses. This compared to 11,677 victims resulting in reported losses of $221,365,911 in 2019.
The FBI encourages businesses and consumers to immediately report suspected internet fraud with the IC3. ALTA has created a two-minute video explaining how to submit a wire transfer fraud complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Filing a complaint allows the FBI to process a case more effectively than calling a local field office. The video details the eight sections of the online form that needs filled out. Submitting complaints helps inform the FBI that wire fraud is a significant problem.