A record $12.5 billion in online scams were reported to the FBI last year

A record $12.5 billion in online scams were reported to the FBI last year - Business and Finance - News

Title: Unprecedented $12.5 Billion in Online Scam Losses Reported in 2023: FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a record-breaking $12.5 billion in losses from contact scams in 2023, marking a significant surge from the previous year’s tally of $10.4 billion [1]. This alarming increase was primarily driven by investment scams, particularly those involving cryptocurrencies and fraudulent actors posing as romantic interests [2].

A Wake-Up Call for Cybersecurity:
The FBI’s Executive Assistant Director, Timothy Langan, emphasized in the report’s foreword that cybercriminals and nation-state adversaries have the capability to wreak havoc on various entities such as schools, law enforcement agencies, healthcare facilities, and private sector organizations [3].

Investment Scams: A Rampant Problem:
Over one-third ($4.5 billion) of the reported losses in 2023 were attributed to investment scams, with many cases involving fraudsters impersonating romantic interests and luring victims into investing in non-existent or fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes [2].

Exploring the Depths of Crypto Scams:
Recent investigations by media outlets, including CNN, have shed light on the vast expanse of these crypto-related scams [4]. These reports provide insight into the experiences of victims, the tactics used by fraudsters, and even the perspectives of the scammers themselves.

The Hidden Costs of Ransomware:
The FBI report also acknowledged an increase in the financial damage inflicted by ransomware attacks. Reported losses from these attacks jumped from approximately $34 million in 2022 to about $59 million in 2023 [1]. However, the actual financial impact of ransomware attacks extends far beyond these reported figures. A significant fraction of victims fails to report these incidents to the FBI.

Rising Tide of Ransomware Extortion:
Chainalysis, a crypto-tracking firm, estimated that cybercriminals extorted a record $1.1 billion in ransom payments from victim organizations worldwide in 2022 [5].

A Challenge for US Healthcare:
The health care sector reported the highest number of ransomware incidents in 2023, with a total of 249 such attacks [1]. These incidents have resulted in significant financial losses for healthcare providers, amounting to millions of dollars per day in some estimates.

The FBI’s annual cybercrime report serves as a crucial reminder of the financial toll contact scams take on individuals and organizations alike. Despite the efforts to combat these crimes, it is essential for all internet users to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding their digital assets and personal information.

[1] FBI Annual Cybercrime Report 2023
[2] FBI Foreword, Cybercrime Report 2023
[3] CNN Investigation on Crypto Scams
[4] FBI Annual Cybercrime Report 2023
[5] Chainalysis Report on Ransomware Payments 2022.