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.
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.|