When you think of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) it probably sparks thoughts of America’s Most Wanted list of fugitives or any number of movies in which the FBI saves the day. While the FBI investigates everything from terrorism to organized crime, most people aren’t aware that the nation’s largest cybersecurity policing agency in the country also falls under the FBI’s domain. Since 2000, the bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has served as the central hub to receive criminal complaints of cybercrime. The IC3 is responsible for developing leads for law enforcement agencies to investigate.
At the end of every year, the IC3 releases an annual report detailing its findings. The 2019 Internet Crime Report includes information and statistics on such criminal activity as Business Email Compromise (BEC), Ransomware, Spoofing, and Tech Support Fraud. Unfortunately, from these reports it is clear that cybercrime is only increasing in its scale and complexity, year to year.
Why is this information so important for consumers and business to understand? Because awareness is the first step in protecting yourself and your business from falling victim to cybercrime. It is that same awareness that prompts so many to take the steps necessary to protect themselves from becoming another statistic on the FBI’s report.
Here are 10 facts from the FBI’s 2019 Internet Crime Report that every individual, company, and management team should know about.1
- Over the last five years, IC3 averaged 340,000 cybercrime complaints per year, with annual numbers continually escalating.
- Of the 33 types of cybercrime tracked by the FBI’s IC3 team, the category with the most victims included those who fell prey to email phishing fraud.
- In 2019, IC3 received a total of 467,361 complaints with reported cybercrime losses of more than $3.5 billion. This loss is more than three times higher than it was just four years earlier.
- Business Email Compromise/Email Account Compromise (BEC/EAC) was the costliest of all cyber fraud. The IC3 received 23,775 BEC/EAC complaints with adjusted losses of more than $1.7 billion. These are sophisticated phishing scams carried out over email and resulting in the unauthorized transfer of funds.
- IC3’s Recovery Asset Team functions as a liaison between law enforcement and financial institutions and helps recover funds for victims who were tricked into transferring money into domestic accounts owned by In 2019, this team aided in the recovery of more than $304 million, which was an impressive 79% of the losses reported.
- Tech Support Fraud is a type of cybercrime where the hacker pretends to be offering technical, security, or service support on an account they say has been compromised in some way. In 2019, the IC3 saw a 40% increase in Tech Fraud Support claims, receiving 13,633 reports that amounted to more the $54 million in losses.
- Ransomware losses in 2019 totaled more than $8.9 million. This form of cybercrime often results from a phishing scam. One example shared by the IC3 involved spear phishing emails that “resulted in the rapid encryption of sensitive files of a corporate network.” In these cases, the hackers promise to release or return the files once a ransom is paid.
- In terms of age, the highest number of cybercrime victims are more than 60 years old. This group accounted for 24.4% of victims and their combined losses were $835,164,766. While victims under the age of 20 made up the smallest group, sadly they lost the most money per victim.
- Rounding out the top three most expensive types of cybercrime in 2019 was spoofing. In a spoofing attack, the hacker disguises themselves as someone familiar and attempts to gain personal information that can be used to commit a crime.
- The states with the greatest number of cybercrime victims in 2019 included California, Florida, Texas, New York, Washington, Maryland, and Virginia.
The numbers behind cybercrime are both alarming and disturbing. While hundreds of thousands of dollars are recovered by law enforcement each year, the majority of the money is lost. And while the FBI and IC3 teams are to be applauded, the key message here is that prevention is much wiser than recovery. If you want to protect yourself and your company from making the list of IC3 cybercrime statistics in 2020, you need to consider INKY.
Whether you are using Office 365, G-Suite, Microsoft Exchange or another email solution, INKY is the industry’s best solution for the security of your email. INKY can be implemented quickly, regardless of whether your employees work at the office or remotely. Uniquely effective at catching phishing attacks, INKY uses computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, to search for signs of fraud. INKY catches what other phishing attack software misses and can detect imposters down to the pixel level. It works on any device and places highly visible warning banners directly in the email.
Cybercrime in 2020 is sure to outpace that of 2019. Take the next best step today and learn more about what INKY can do to protect you.
INKY® is the emerging hero in the war against phishing. An award-winning cloud-based email security solution, INKY® prevents the most complex phishing threats from disrupting or even immobilizing your company’s day-to-day business operations. Using computer vision, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, INKY® is the smartest investment you can make in the security of your organization. INKY® is a proud winner of the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge and finalist in the 2020 RSAC Innovation Sandbox Competition. Learn more about INKY® or request an online demonstration today.