Internet crime in 2022: Over $3 billion lost to investment scammers

“In 2022, investment scam losses were the most (common or dollar amount) scheme reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3),” the FBI shared in its 2022 Internet Crime Report.

This category includes crypto-investment scams such as liquidity mining, celebrity impersonation, “pig butchering“, and many more.

Business email compromise (BEC) scams are overall the second most financially destructive, followed by tech support scams and personal data breaches.

2022 Internet Crime Report: Additional findings

  • The number of complaints received by the IC3 is a bit smaller than the year before, but the overall recorded losses are highest than ever ($10.3 billion, compared to $6.9 billion in 2021, and $4.2 billion in 2020)
  • When it comes to BEC scams, the IC3 saw a slight increase of targeting victims’ investment accounts instead of the traditional banking accounts, and an increase of BEC bad actors spoofing legitimate business phone numbers to confirm fraudulent banking details with victims. (BEC scammers also work fast and often hijack email threads.)
  • The number of reported ransomware incidents has decreased, but ransomware is still a big threat, especially to organizations in the healthcare critical manufacturing, governmentm, IT, and financial services sectors
  • Call center fraudsters (tech/customer/government support scammers) target older users in particular. “Victims over 60 lost over $724 million to these scams, more than the victims of all other age groups combined. Victims over 60 have lost their savings, homes, and even lives,” the FBI noted

Internet crime 2022

The FBI urges victims of internet crime – wherever they may be located – to also report it to the IC3, because its Recovery Asset Team (RAT) may, in some cases, help the victim to recover the stolen funds.

“In September 2022, the IC3 received a complaint filed by a victim located in the Seattle, Washington area of a BEC who intended a wire of $650,000.00 be sent to an investor, not realizing their email account was intercepted by a hacker providing fraudulent bank account instructions. The IC3 RAT immediately initiated the Financial Fraud Kill Chain (FFKC) process to freeze the fraudulent financial bank account,” the FBI shared.

“Further collaboration with the domestic financial institution enabled a full return to the business of approximately $645,000.00. The RAT team walked the victim through the recovery process which enabled the return of funds.”

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