FBI Reports Internet Fraud Climbs 32% in 2019

The internet is connecting everyone in the world together and drawing us closer together. And while that is a good thing in many cases, it also is providing a ripe hunting ground from fraudsters and scammers that are trying to steal your money.

This week the FBI, reports that fraud on the internet rose to the highest level ever reported. And it showing no signs of slowing down.

Reports of fraud and scams on the internet jumped 32%. Over 100,000 more US citizens reported being defrauded than the year before.

Over $3.5 Billion Dollars Stolen By Scammers in 2019

While the number of reports increased sharply, losses increased as well. The FBI reports that over $3.5 Billion in fraud losses were incurred.

The top three crime types with the highest reported losses were BEC, Confidence/Romance Fraud, and Spoofing.

Close to Half The Losses Were Caused by BEC Attacks

In 2019, the FBI received 23,775 Business Email Compromise complaints with losses of over $1.7 billion.

This means that over half the internet losses are now comprised of BEC attacks against consumers and businesses.

The FBI warned that the sharpest increases occurred in the diversion of payroll funds. In this type of scheme, a company’s human resources or payroll department receives an email appearing to be from an employee requesting to update their direct deposit information for the current pay period. The new direct deposit information generally routes to a pre-paid card account.

The FBI Established a Recovery Asset Team To Help Victims Get Over $300 Million Back from Scammers

To help victims, The FBI established The Recovery Asset Team (RAT) in February 2018 to streamline communication with financial institutions and assist FBI field offices with the recovery of funds for victims who made transfers to domestic accounts under fraudulent pretenses.

The FBI essentially works with financial institutions to help them to act quickly to stop funds from being dispersed to fraudsters when crimes have occurred to give the money back to the victim.

The FBI team has been highly effective in helping victims. In 2019 alone, they recovered over $300 Million in victims’ money which was a recovery rate of over 79% of the cases they handled.

FBI Can Help You Recover Money If You Are A Victim

The FBI is willing to help victims of BEC scams. If you are a victim, they are instructing you to do the following:

  • Contact the originating financial institution as soon as fraud is recognized to request a recall or reversal as well as a Hold Harmless Letter or Letter of Indemnity.
  • File a detailed complaint with www.ic3.gov. It is vital the complaint contain all required data in provided fields, including banking information.
  • Visit www.ic3.gov for updated PSAs regarding BEC trends as well as other fraud schemes targeting specific populations (real estate, pre-paid cards, W-2, etc.).
  • Never make any payment changes without verifying with the intended recipient; verify email addresses are accurate when checking mail on a cell phone or other mobile device

Thank you for reading these great fraud trends reports from the FBI.

Frank McKenna is the Chief Fraud Strategist for PointPredictive and a Fraud Consultant based in San Diego California