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Online fraud cost Americans $12.5bn last year — and the FBI says things will only get worse in 2024

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A new report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) claims online fraud cost Americans in excess of $12.5 billion in 2023.

Compared year-on-year to 2022, this represents an increase of nearly 10% in terms of complaints received, and an overall 22% increase in losses.

Investment fraud topped the charts for the most costly scam at $4.57 billion, shortly followed by business email compromise at $2.9 billion. Ransomware is up 74% compared to 2022, an increase of 74%.

Complaints and losses on the rise

It’s not all bad news, as the IC3 Recovery Asset Team’s (RAT) placed a monetary hold on $538.39 million potentially fraudulent transactions, with a success rate of 71%.

Investment fraud related to cryptocurrency saw a jump from $2.57 to $3.94 billion - an increase of 53%. In terms of the age groups that are most likely to fall for these scams, the data shows no clear correlation, with those aged 30 - >60 targeted the most. Those aged 20 - 29 were targeted about half as much as the other groups.

The Healthcare and Public Health sector saw the greatest number of ransomware attacks, followed by Critical Manufacturing, and then Government Facilities. Interestingly, the IC3 received the least amount of ransomware complaints from the Defense Industrial Base.

The most common ransomware affecting critical infrastructure was topped out by Lockbit at 175, followed by ALPHV/BlackCat at 100, with Akira (95), Royal (63), and Black Basta (41) trailing behind. While this does not represent every ransomware attack that occurred, it shows just how significant the authorities targeting of LOCKBIT and ALPHV/BlackCat infrastructure has been.

Impersonation and Tech & Customer support scams accounted for $1.3 billion in 2023, with government impersonation increasing by 63%, and tech and customer support scams increasing by 15%. With the increasing capabilities of deepfakes and generative-AI providing useful tools to hacker groups, it is no surprise that these forms of fraud are increasing at such a rapid pace.

On average, the IC3 received 2,412 complaints per day relating to online fraud, with 758,000+ complaints received per year on average. Since the IC3’s inception in 2000, the organization has received over 8 million complaints.

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