The FBI´s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) provides a mechanism for cybercrime victims and third parties to report suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity. Additionally, the IC3 takes on other important roles such as providing intelligence to assist law enforcement investigations, assisting in the recovery of cybercrime proceeds, raising public awareness and supporting victims of cybercrime.

Key trends, typologies and associated global losses

The 2018 Internet Crime Report emphasizes the IC3’s efforts in monitoring trending scams such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), Extortion, Tech Support Fraud, and Payroll Diversion.

Business Email Compromise

In 2018, the IC3 received over 20,000 BEC/E-mail Account Compromise (EAC) complaints with losses of over $1.2 billion. BEC/EAC targets both businesses and individuals performing fund transfers. The scam is frequently carried out when a subject compromises legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or hacking to conduct unauthorised transfers of funds.

Tech support fraud

Tech support fraud continues to be a growing problem. In 2018, the IC3 received over 14,000 complaints related to tech support fraud from victims in 48 countries. The losses amounted to nearly $39 million, which represents a 161% increase in losses from 2017. The majority of victims reported to be over 60 years of age.

Payroll Diversion

In 2018, the IC3 received approximately 100 complaints with a combined reported loss of $100M. In the Payroll Diversion scam, cybercriminals target employees through phishing emails in order to capture their login credentials and then access the employee´s payroll account. The cybercriminal will then change the direct deposit information, redirecting the payroll funds to an account controlled by the cybercriminal, which is often a prepaid card.


In 2018, the IC3 received over 50,000 extortion-related complaints with adjusted losses of over $83 million, representing a 242% increase in extortion related complaints from 2017. Extortion occurs when a criminal demands something of value from a victim by threatening physical or financial harm or the release of sensitive data. Virtual currency is commonly demanded as the payment mechanism because it provides the criminal an additional layer of anonymity.

2018 crime types by victims and losses

While the above crime types represent trending areas for 2018, this is far from the full picture. In 2018, IC3 received a total of 351,936 complaints with losses exceeding $2.7 Billion, spanning a range of over 30 crime types.


Crime Type Victims Losses Crime Type Definition
Non-Payment/Non-Delivery 65116 $183,826,809 Non-payment: goods and services are shipped, but payment is never rendered. Non-delivery: payment is sent, but goods and services are never received.
Extortion 51146 $83,357,901 Refer to Key Trends section
Personal Data Breach 50642 $148,892,403 A leak or spill of personal data that is released from a secure location to an untrusted environment.
No Lead Value 36936 $0.00 Incomplete complaints which do not allow a crime type to be determined.
Phishing/Vishing/Smishing/Pharming 26379 $48,241,748 Unsolicited email, text messages, and telephone calls purportedly from a legitimate company requesting personal, financial, and/or login credentials.
BEC/EAC 20373 $1,297,803,489 Refer to Key Trends section
Confidence Fraud/Romance 18493 $362,500,761 A perpetrator deceives a victim into believing the perpetrator and the victim have a trust/romantic relationship, persuading them to send money, personal and financial information to the perpetrator.
Harassment/Threats of Violence 18415 $21,903,829 Harassment - perpetrator uses false accusations or statements of fact to intimidate a victim. Threats of Violence - an expression of an intention to inflict pain, injury, or punishment.
Advanced Fee 16362 $92,271,682 The perpetrator informs a victim that they have qualified for a large financial loan / won a large financial award, but must first pay taxes or fees in order to access it. The victim pays the fee, but never receives the promised money.
Identity Theft 16128 $100,429,691 The perpetrator steals another person’s personal identifying information, to commit fraud.
Spoofing 15569 $70,000,248 Contact information (phone number, email, and website) is deliberately falsified to mislead and appear to be from a legitimate source.
Overpayment 15512 $53,225,507 An individual is sent a payment/commission and is instructed to keep a portion of the payment and send the remainder to another individual or business.
Credit Card Fraud 15210 $88,991,436 Wide-ranging term for fraud committed using a credit card or any similar payment mechanism as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction.
Employment 14979 $45,487,120 An individual believes they are legitimately employed, and loses money or launders money/items during the course of their employment.
Tech Support 14408 $38,697,026 Refer to Key Trends section
Real Estate/Rental 11300 $149,458,114 Fraud involving real estate, rental or timeshare property.
Government Impersonation 10978 $64,211,765 A government official is impersonated in an attempt to collect money.
Other 10826 $63,126,929 Other crime types not falling within a specific category.
Lottery/Sweepstakes 7146 $60,214,814 An individual is contacted about winning a lottery or sweepstakes they never entered, or to collect on an inheritance from an unknown relative and are asked to pay a tax or fee in order to receive their award.
Misrepresentation 5959 $20,000,713 Merchandise or services were purchased or contracted by individuals online for which the purchasers provided payment. The goods or services received were of a measurably lesser quality or quantity than was described by the seller.
Investment 3693 $252,955,320 Deceptive practice that induces investors to make purchases on the basis of false information, e.g. Ponzi schemes.
Malware/Scareware/Virus 2811 $7,411,651 Software or code intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems. Scare tactics may be used by perpetrators to solicit funds.
Corporate Data Breach 2480 $117,711,989 A leak or spill of business data that is released from a secure location to an untrusted environment.
IPR/Copyright and Counterfeit 2249 $15,802,011 The theft and illegal use of others’ ideas, inventions, and creative expressions.
Denial of Service/TDoS 1799 $2,052,340 Flooding a service with multiple requests, slowing down or interrupting service.
Ransomware 1493 $3,621,857 A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until money is paid.
Crimes Against Children 1394 $265,996 Anything related to the exploitation of children, including child abuse.
Re-shipping 907 $1,684,179 Individuals receive packages purchased through fraudulent means and subsequently repackage the merchandise for shipment, usually abroad.
Civil Matter 768 $15,172,692 Civil lawsuits are any disputes formally submitted to a court that is not criminal.
Charity 493 $1,006,379 Perpetrators set up false charities, usually following natural disasters, and profit from individuals who believe they are making donations to legitimate charitable organizations.
Health Care Related 337 $4,474,792 A scheme attempting to defraud private or government health care programs, usually involving health care providers, companies, or individuals.
Gambling 181 $926,953 Online gambling, also known as Internet gambling and iGambling, is a general term for gambling using the Internet.
Terrorism 120 $10,193 Violent acts intended to create fear and compromise the public´s safety, that are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal.
Hacktivist 77 $77,612 A computer hacker whose activity is aimed at promoting a social or political cause.