Online scams cost Americans more than $10 billion in 2022, the highest annual loss in the last five years, according to a new report from the FBI.
The FBI’s annual Internet Crime Report revealed a more than $3 billion jump in online fraud from 2021 to 2022. This was largely due to a near-tripling in reports of cryptocurrency investment fraud.
The report tallies a wide variety of fraud complaints and is a metric for US policymakers in measuring how much hacking and other schemes are costing the American economy.
Older adults are increasingly becoming targets of fraud schemes, with call center fraud being the most common. This type of fraud occurs when scammers call someone impersonating tech support or government agencies, and elderly adults accounted for $724 million, or more than two-thirds of the reported losses last year. It is important to be aware of these schemes and take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.
The relatively modest figure of $34 million in ransomware adjusted losses reported to the FBI last year could be due to the fact that many victim organizations still do not report ransomware attacks to the FBI. This could be due to the fact that ransomware, which locks computers until hackers are paid off, is a relatively new form of fraud that many people are not yet aware of.
A new ransomware called Hive was used in 87 attacks last year, according to the FBI. The bureau seized Hive operatives’ computer infrastructure earlier this year, but not before hackers affiliated with the ransomware extorted more than $100 million from hospitals, schools and other victims around the world.
Hackers have been using ransomware to steal millions of dollars from individuals and businesses, but a different hacking scheme known as business email compromise (BEC) leads to far more money stolen from victims in aggregate. A BEC scheme typically involves someone tricking a victim into wiring them money, often by impersonating a customer or a relative.