Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received more than 847 thousand complaints about cybercrime. According to a new report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), financial losses due to cybercrime continued to grow sharply during 2021 and totaled $6.9 billion.
Five years ago, a similar report indicated that crimes on the Internet led to a loss of $1.4 billion with 301,580 complaints. The fastest growth was observed in the field of phishing and other types of attacks based on credentials, the number of which increased from about 25 thousand incidents in 2017 to almost 324 thousand in 2021.
According to the FBI, the most destructive Internet crime in 2021 was the compromise of business email (business email compromise, BEC). In 2021, IC3 received almost 20 thousand complaints about BEC attacks and estimated losses of almost $2.4 billion.
“Now scammers are using virtual meeting platforms to hack emails, forge business leaders’ credentials and initiate fraudulent bank transfers. Fraudulent bank transactions are often immediately transferred to cryptocurrency wallets and quickly dissipate, which makes it difficult to recover lost funds,” the FBI report says.
At the state level, the most affected U.S. jurisdiction in 2021 was California with reported losses of $1.2 billion. Texas came in second with $606 million, and New York came in third with $559 million.