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Americans Lost $12.5 Billion to Online Fraud Last Year, FBI Reveals


March 08, 2024

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Americans Lost $12.5 Billion to Online Fraud Last Year, FBI Reveals

The FBI's annual Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report reveals American citizens lost tremendous amounts of money to cybercrime – $12.5 billion from fraud alone.

Over the last five years, the IC3 has received an average of 758,000 complaints per year, addressing a wide array of internet scams affecting individuals across the globe.

Of the 880,000 complaints received in 2023, almost 300,000 were reported phishing attacks – by far the most common attack vector employed by cybercriminals.

Investment scams topped the list of crimes the IC3 tracks, rising from $3.31 billion in 2022 to $4.57 billion in 2023, a 38% increase. Investment fraud with a reference to cryptocurrency rose 53% in the same period, from $2.57 billion to $3.94 billion.

2,825 complaints were about ransomware, with losses exceeding $59.6 million. Threat actors mostly targeted key industries like healthcare, critical manufacturing, and government facilities, but also IT and financial services, transportation and communications. The top ransomware variants targeting critical infrastructure were LockBit, ALPH/BlackCat, Akira, Royal, and Black Basta.

Tech support scams and government impersonation fraud target older adults, with devastating effects, according to the report. Some 40% of the complainants report to be over 60 years of age, and they suffer 58% of the losses (over $770 million).

“As the cyber threat continues to evolve, the FBI remains appreciative of those who report cyber incidents to IC3,” said Executive Assistant Director Timothy Langan. “Information reported to the FBI helps advance our investigations. Your reporting is critical for our efforts to pursue adversaries, share intelligence with our partners, and protect your fellow citizens.”

The full report offers many more interesting insights, including a top 20 list of countries that make a habit of reporting cybercrime to the FBI, the top 10 US states that do the same (including the adjacent losses), the most common crime types, and more.

When you’re unsure if you’re dealing with a scam, Bitdefender recommends Scamio, our AI-powered scam detector. Instead of playing detective, simply copy-paste the message, upload an image, send a link, or simply describe your situation in your own words. Scamio will analyze it and let you know if it’s safe or not.




Filip has 15 years of experience in technology journalism. In recent years, he has turned his focus to cybersecurity in his role as Information Security Analyst at Bitdefender.

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