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FBI Report: Cybercrime Victims Lost $4.2 billion in 2020

The FBI published an annual report on online fraud and cybercrime victims. According to the U.S. government, 2020 was a record year for criminal activity.

The FBI reports that it received a total of 791,790 complaints about various cybercrimes last year, increase by 69% from the 467,361 complaints it received in 2019.

Overall casualty losses have also increased, with victims reporting over $4.2 billion in lost funds over the past year, up 20% from 2019, when victims reported $3.5 billion in losses.

Thus, for the fifth consecutive year, the FBI has recorded an increase in the number of crimes and increasing losses among victims of cybercriminals.

FBI report on Cybercrime Victims

As in previous years, the largest number of problems was associated with the so-called EAC and BEC scams (Email Account Compromise and Business Email Compromise). Most often, these terms imply the compromise of a legitimate email account of one of the company’s employees.

“After such a hack, attackers use the account to send fake emails to employees of the same company or its partners, and apply social engineering to persuade them to transfer funds to fake accounts under the guise of fake invoices and fictitious transactions”, – FBI analysts say.

Such scams caused losses of $1.8 billion, which was about 43% of all funds lost over the past year.

At the same time, the FBI claims that a new trend has emerged in the field of BEC and EAC scams. Whereas in the past, cybercriminals often sent money to their own bank accounts, now scammers are increasingly using stolen identities to create bank accounts and receive funds. From such accounts, money is quickly withdrawn and converted into cryptocurrencies.

Fraudsters have begun to use this tactic more often after the FBI created the IC3 Recovery Asset Team in 2018, a group of agents specializing in recovering funds stolen in this way. In 2020, this group was able to return more than $380 million to victims of 1,303 incidents.

In addition to the rise in BEC fraud, the FBI IC3 team also reports alarming ransomware activity that does not seem to subside. In 2020, such crimes increased by 225%, and losses increased from $8.9 million in 2019 to about $ 29.1 million.

FBI report on Cybercrime Victims

Many experts point out that these figures from the FBI report are inaccurate. As it was repeatedly reported in the media, last year several companies at once paid ransoms accounting tens of millions of dollars. But the problem is that not all people and companies affected by ransomware attacks report what happened to the authorities, and most pay ransoms and never report what happened to their customers or friends.

Let me also remind you that FBI warns that cybercriminals are looking for money laundering partners through dating sites, as well as FBI and NSA discovered Drovorub malware, created by Russian Intelligence services.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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