FBI: Cybercrime Shot Up in 2020 Amidst Pandemic

FBI: Cybercrime Shot Up in 2020 Amidst Pandemic

In 2020, as the world grappled with a fast-spreading global pandemic, the FBI received more than 2,000 complaints each day, totaling 791,790 for the year. This represents a 69% increase from the previous year and a total of U.S. $4.2 billion in losses, according to data collected by the FBI’s The Internet Complaint Center (IC3).

Cybercriminals employed all manner of schemes to target businesses and individuals, including phishing, spoofing and tech support fraud, the FBI reported. The costliest cybercrimes were against businesses, involving Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) schemes that added up to U.S. $1.8 billion in losses from 19,369 reported complaints. Phishing attacks topped the list of all cybercrimes, totaling 241,342 incidents – more than double the 2019 total of 114,702 – and causing losses of more than U.S. $54 million.

The FBI compiles the statistics, recently published in its Internet Crime Report 2020, from complaints filed through www.ic3.gov. “The quality of the data is directly attributable to the information ingested via the public interface. The IC3 staff analyzes the data to identify trends in Internet-facilitated crimes and what those trends may represent in the coming year,” the report says.

COVID-related Incidents

The COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in cybercriminal activities in 2020. “Fraudsters took the opportunity to exploit the pandemic to target both business and individuals. In 2020, the IC3 received over 28,500 complaints related to COVID-19.”

Fraudsters, the FBI report says, targeted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) for a plethora of schemes. Specific targets included unemployment insurance, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and Sma ..

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