These are the most popular Internet scams, according to a new FBI report

Internet scams are becoming more and more common. It The FBI’s new Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report found that in the last year alone, more than $10 billion was lost to cyberattacks and cyberattacks, including spam calls, texts and emails.

Although people of all ages are victims of this type of crime, almost half of the victims were over 60.

An FBI report highlights several internet scams that cost victims millions, and in some cases billions, in 2022.

Most scams by number of victims

According to the IC3 report, below are the top 10 crimes by number of victims in 2022:

  1. Phishing: 300,497
  2. Breach of personal data: 58,859
  3. Non-payment/non-delivery: 51679
  4. Extortion: 39416
  5. Technical Support: 32,538
  6. Investment: 30,529
  7. Identity Theft: 27,922
  8. Credit Card/Check Fraud: 22,985
  9. Business Email Compromise (BEC): 21,832
  10. Fraud

The most scams with lost money

Below are the top 10 crimes by victim loss in 2022:

  1. Investments: $3,311,742,206
  2. Business Email Compromise (BEC): $2,742,354,049
  3. Technical support: $806,551,993
  4. Personal data breach: $742,438,136
  5. Trust / romance: $735,882,192
  6. Data breach: $459,321,859
  7. Real Estate: $396,932,821
  8. Non-payment/non-delivery: $281,770,073
  9. Credit Card/Check Fraud: $2641,489,050
  10. Government appropriation: $240,553,091

What to look out for?

The FBI report also highlights four specific scams that people should watch out for in 2023. These include investment scams, business email compromise (BEC), call center fraud, and ransomware.

It is very important to be aware of these scams so that you can protect yourself from them.

Investment scams

Investment fraud has become more expensive over the years, with the total loss reported to IC3 increasing from $1.45 billion in 2021 to $3.31 billion in 2022, the largest fraud in terms of dollars lost last year. Crypto investment scams registered the highest growth, from 907 million dollars to 2.57 billion dollars during this period.

There are several variations of these scams, including liquidity mining, hacked social media impersonation, celebrity impersonation, real estate professional impersonation, and employment scams. Victims between the ages of 30 and 49 are the most common age group targeted by investment scams.

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To protect against this type of fraud, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends researching any company offering investment opportunities, understanding all fees associated with investing, and asking questions about how your money will be used. Also, never invest more than you can afford to lose, and never give out personal information, such as bank account numbers or Social Security numbers, unless you’re sure the company is legitimate.

If you believe you have been a victim of investment fraud, contact your state securities regulator immediately. It Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also provides resources on its website for recovering from investment fraud.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Business Email Compromise Scams is a sophisticated form of fraud targeting both businesses and individuals, resulting in more than $2.7 billion in adjusted losses as reported by IC3 in 2022.

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These scams involve criminals taking over legitimate email accounts to gain access to people’s financial information or money. Unfortunately, criminals have gotten better at this over time, now using escrow accounts at financial institutions to exchange cryptocurrencies and fake phone numbers to send victims their money. They can also target people’s investments.

To protect yourself from this type of scam, always review any email. Do not click on links from unknown sources, and double-check phone numbers in suspicious emails before calling them. It’s also a good idea to use an additional layer of security, such as two-factor authentication if possible:

Call center fraud

Illegal call centers cost more than $1 billion a year. Primarily located in South Asia (especially India), illegal call centers overwhelmingly target the elderly. Almost half of the victims were over the age of 60 and suffered 69% of the losses, totaling more than $724 million.

Call center scammers use a variety of tactics, such as impersonating government personnel or technical support representatives. Some callers may also offer to “fix” the victim’s problem only for services that were never provided.

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In many cases, victims are tricked into sending payments via bank transfer or prepaid debit cards.

To avoid this type of scam, be suspicious of any incoming call that offers payment services. Don’t give out personal or financial information over the phone, and always use two-factor authentication (such as a code sent to your phone) when verifying identity or transactions.

If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is, so double check with trusted sources before paying. You should too Report suspected fraud to the FTC.

Ransomware scams

In 2022, IC3 received more than 2,300 ransomware complaints with a loss of $34.3 million from data encryption and theft.

Phishing emails, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) exploitation, and exploiting software vulnerabilities remain the top ransomware scams.

In addition to these tactics, scammers have begun pressuring victims to pay ransoms, threatening to release stolen data if they don’t comply.

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The first step to protecting yourself from ransomware threats is to be vigilant about emails and downloads. Never open suspicious emails or download files from unknown sources, as they may contain malware or viruses. Make sure your computer’s security system is up-to-date and back up important files regularly using an external storage device.

The FBI also warned about trust or romance scams

The FBI recently issued a warning about romance and trust fraud. These can be devastating to those affected by them. In these types of scams, people take emotional and financial advantage, often resulting in serious financial losses and psychological damage.

In dating scams, victims are usually encouraged to form an emotional connection with someone who may not even exist. In trust fraud, victims are tricked into trusting someone they don’t know, who then uses that trust to take financial advantage.

For example, the Hey Grandma scam and similar scams are a type of confidence scam where individuals are tricked into making monetary or material investments into believing they are in an established relationship, such as with family or friends.

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Scammers often promise to meet in person, but keep making excuses as to why they can’t. Additionally, they may ask for money once they’ve gained your trust, often for alleged debts, financial aid, or travel expenses, and usually in ways that are difficult to trace and recover.

To protect yourself, be careful what you post on your social media profiles, as scammers often use information available online to their advantage.

If you suspect that something is bothering the person, immediately stop communicating with him. Take it slow and ask a lot of questions when you get to know someone, and don’t send money or personal information until you know who they are.

What to do if you have been scammed?

If you have been a victim of any type of cybercrime, this is very important report it to IC3. The FBI can provide information essential to recovering stolen data or payments made. Incident reporting also enables the FBI to better understand scammers’ tactics and bring perpetrators to justice.

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