IC3 Annual Report – 2021 Elder Fraud Report

Dear Reader,

Working with the Department of Justice Elder Fraud Initiative and other internal and external partners, the FBI is committed to identifying, investigating, and prosecuting criminals who target seniors. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a key component in this endeavor, as it provides victims a venue to identify the subject and the fraud committed against them.

Through this voluntary submission of information, the IC3 receives and tracks thousands of complaints each day. These complaints contain the details of multiple types of schemes, including romance scams, investment fraud, government impersonation, and tech support fraud.

The number of elderly victims has risen at an alarming rate, while the loss amounts are even more staggering. In 2021, over 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion to the IC3. This represents a 74 percent increase in losses over losses reported in 2020.

As a result of these trends and the emphasis by the FBI on protecting our seniors, the FBI is publishing the 2021 IC3 Elder Fraud Annual Report. This information is a companion report to the 2021 IC3 Annual Report released in March 2022. These reports, along with other publications, are available at www.ic3.gov.

The intent of this information is to educate, warn, and protect potential victims of all ages. Highlighting the crimes specifically affecting seniors will it be possible to ensure the necessary emphasis and resources are allocated to address this problem.

For those who unfortunately fall victim to these criminal tactics, please know the information you provide to the FBI is vital in bringing the criminals responsible to justice.

Luis M. Quesada
Assistant Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Investigative Division

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2021_IC3ElderFraudReport.pdf

IC3 Annual Report – 2021 Internet Crime Report

Dear Reader,

In 2021, America experienced an unprecedented increase in cyber attacks and malicious cyber activity. These cyber attacks compromised businesses in an extensive array of business sectors as well as the American public. As the cyber threat evolves and becomes increasingly intertwined with traditional foreign intelligence threats and emerging technologies, the FBI continues to leverage our unique authorities and partnerships to impose risks and consequences on our nation’s cyber adversaries.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides the American public with a direct outlet to report cyber crimes to the FBI. We analyze and investigate the reporting to track the trends and threats from cyber criminals and then share this data with our intelligence and law enforcement partners. The FBI, alongside our partners, recognizes how crucial information sharing of cyber activities is to prepare our partners to combat the cyber threat, through a whole-of-government approach. Critical to that approach is public reporting to IC3 – enabling us to fill in the missing pieces with this valuable information during the investigatory process. Not only does this reporting help to prevent additional crimes, it allows us to develop key insights on the ever-evolving trends and threats we face from malign cyber actors.

In 2021, IC3 continued to receive a record number of complaints from the American public: 847,376 reported complaints, which was a 7% increase from 2020, with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. Among the 2021 complaints received, ransomware, business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency are among the top incidents reported. In 2021, BEC schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion.

IC3’s commitment to cyber victims and partnerships allow for the continued success through programs such as the IC3’s Recovery Asset Team (RAT). Established in 2018, RAT streamlines communications with financial institutions and FBI field offices to assist freezing of funds for victims. In 2021, the IC3’s RAT initiated the Financial Fraud Kill Chain (FFKC) on 1,726 BEC complaints involving domestic to domestic transactions with potential losses of $443,448,237. A monetary hold was placed on approximately $329 million, which represents a 74% success rate.

In 2021, heightened attention was brought to the urgent need for more cyber incident reporting to the federal government. Cyber incidents are in fact crimes deserving of an investigation, leading to judicial repercussions for the perpetrators who commit them. Thank you to all those readers who reported crimes to IC3 throughout the year. Without this reporting, we could not be as effective in ensuring consequences are imposed on those perpetrating these attacks and our understanding of these threats would not be as robust. Please visit IC3.gov to access the latest information on criminal internet activity.

The FBI’s Cyber Division is working harder than ever to protect the American public and to instill safety, security, and confidence in a digitally connected world. We encourage everyone to use IC3 and reach out to their local FBI field office to report malicious activity. Together we can continue to create a safer and more secure cyber landscape.

Paul Abbate
Deputy Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2021_IC3Report.pdf

IC3 Annual Report – 2020 Elder Fraud Report

Dear Reader,

The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. This mission includes our efforts to combat financial crimes targeting seniors. The FBI, in alignment with the Department of Justice Elder Fraud Initiative and the efforts of our internal and external partners, is committed to this mission. It is from this commitment to the American people that the FBI provides the public an avenue to report fraud through the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

The IC3 receives and tracks thousands of complaints daily, reported by victims of fraud. This reporting is key to identifying, investigating, and holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Victims of fraud have the option to identify their age range when submitting a complaint to IC3; the information contained in this report is derived from complaints submitted by or on behalf of victims aged 60 and over.

Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme, such as romance scams, tech support fraud, and lottery or sweepstake scams. Criminals gain their targets’ trust or use tactics of intimidation and threats to take advantage of their victims. Once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain.

In 2020, IC3 received a total of 791,790 complaints with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion. Based on the information provided in the complaints, approximately 28% of the total fraud losses were sustained by victims over the age of 60, resulting in approximately $1 billion in losses to seniors. This represents an increase of approximately $300 million in losses reported in 2020 versus what was reported by victims over 60 in 2019.

To educate the public and provide as much information on the types of frauds targeting seniors as possible, the IC3 is offering its first publication of the 2020 IC3 Elder Fraud Annual Report. This report is a companion report to the 2020 IC3 Annual Report released in March 2021. These reports, along with other publications, are available at www.IC3.gov.

It is only by victims reporting fraud that we can identify trends, educate the public, and support investigations, and nowhere is this more important than crimes against seniors.

Calvin Shivers
Assistant Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Investigative Division

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2020_IC3ElderFraudReport.pdf

IC3 Annual Report – 2020 Internet Crime Report

Dear Reader,

In 2020, while the American public was focused on protecting our families from a global pandemic and helping others in need, cyber criminals took advantage of an opportunity to profit from our dependence on technology to go on an Internet crime spree. These criminals used phishing, spoofing, extortion, and various types of Internet-enabled fraud to target the most vulnerable in our society – medical workers searching for personal protective equipment, families looking for information about stimulus checks to help pay bills, and many others.

Crimes of this type are just a small part of what the FBI combats through our criminal and cyber investigative work. Key to our cyber mission is the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which provides the public with a trustworthy source for information on cyber criminal activity, and a way for the public to report directly to us when they suspect they are a victim of cyber crime.

IC3 received a record number of complaints from the American public in 2020: 791,790, with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion. This represents a 69% increase in total complaints from 2019. Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) schemes continued to be the costliest: 19,369 complaints with an adjusted loss of approximately $1.8 billion. Phishing scams were also prominent: 241,342 complaints, with adjusted losses of over $54 million. The number of ransomware incidents also continues to rise, with 2,474 incidents reported in 2020.

Public reporting is central to the mission and success of IC3. Submitting a cyber crime complaint to IC3.gov not only helps the FBI address specific complaints—and provide support and assistance to victims —but also helps us prevent additional crimes by finding and holding criminal actors accountable. Information reported to the IC3 helps the FBI better understand the motives of cyber-criminals, the evolving threat posed, and tactics utilized, enabling us to most effectively work with partners to mitigate the damage to victims.

IC3 has continued to strengthen its relationships with industry and others in the law enforcement community to reduce financial losses resulting from BEC scams. Through the Recovery Asset Team, IC3 worked with its partners to successfully freeze approximately $380 million of the $462 million in reported losses in 2020, representing a success rate of nearly 82%. In addition, IC3 has a Recovery and Investigative Development Team which assists financial and law enforcement investigators in dismantling organizations that move and transfer funds obtained illicitly.

With our dedicated resources focused on recovering funds and preventing further victimization, we are better aligned to confront the unique challenges faced in cyberspace. Visit IC3.gov to access the latest information on criminal Internet activity.

We strongly encourage readers to submit complaints to IC3 and to reach out to their local FBI field office to report malicious cyber criminal activity. Together we will continue to build safety, security, and confidence into our digitally connected world.

Paul Abbate
Deputy Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2020_IC3Report.pdf

IC3 Annual Report – 2019 Internet Crime Report

Dear Reader,

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating malicious cyber activity by criminals, nation-state adversaries, and terrorists. To fulfill this mission, the FBI often develops resources to enhance operations and collaboration. One such resource is the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which provides the public with a trustworthy and convenient mechanism for reporting information concerning suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity. At the end of every year, the IC3 collates information collected into an annual report.

This year’s Internet Crime Report highlights the IC3’s efforts to monitor trending scams such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), Ransomware, Elder Fraud, and Tech Support Fraud. As the report indicates, in 2019, IC3 received a total of 467,361 complaints with reported losses exceeding $3.5 billion. The most prevalent crime types reported were Phishing/Vishing/Smishing/Pharming, Non-Payment/Non-Delivery, Extortion, and Personal Data Breach. The top three crime types with the highest reported losses were BEC, Confidence/Romance Fraud, and Spoofing. More details on each of these scams can be found in this report.

Of note, the IC3’s Recovery Asset Team (RAT), which assists in recovering funds for victims of BEC schemes, celebrated its first full year of operation. During its inaugural year, the team assisted in the recovery of over $300 million lost through on-line scams, boasting a 79% return rate of reported losses. We’re also pleased to announce the creation of a Recovery and Investigative Development (RaID) Team which will assist financial and law enforcement investigators in dismantling money mule organizations.

Information reported to the IC3 helps the FBI gain a better understanding of cyber adversaries and the motives behind their activities. Therefore, we encourage everyone to use IC3 and reach out to their local field office to report malicious activity. Cyber is the ultimate team sport. Working together we hope to create a safer, more secure cyber landscape ensuring confidence as we traverse through a digitally-connected world. We hope this report provides you with information of value as we work together to protect our nation against cyber threats.

Matt Gorham
Assistant Director
Cyber Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2019_IC3Report.pdf

IC3 Annual Report – 2018 Internet Crime Report

Dear Reader,

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber-attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists, and the FBI’s IC3 provides the public with a trustworthy and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information concerning suspected Internet facilitated criminal activity.

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. In 2018, IC3 received a total of 351,937 complaints with losses exceeding $2.7 Billion.

This past year, the most prevalent crime types reported by victims were Non-Payment/NonDelivery, Extortion, and Personal Data Breach. The top three crime types with the highest reported loss were BEC, Confidence/Romance fraud, and Non-Payment/Non-Delivery.

In February 2018, the IC3 established the Recovery Asset Team (RAT) to assist in the recovery of funds for victims involved in BEC schemes by streamlining communications to financial Institutions. The RAT works within the Domestic Financial Fraud Kill Chain (DFFKC) to recover fraudulent funds wired by victims. The DFFKC is a partnership between law enforcement and financial entities. In 2018, the IC3 RAT notified 56 field offices and 12 Legal Attachés of 1,061 DFFKC’s totaling $257,096,992, a recovery rate of 75%.

Another new asset of the IC3 was the creation of the Victim Specialists-Internet Crimes (VSIC) position. The VSIC contact victims of internet crimes, provide crisis intervention, conduct needs assessments, and refer victims to resources and referrals when appropriate. This new position is designed to ensure timely support and services are provided to victims to prevent further victimization and to engage the recovery process as quickly as possible. These positions also lead to a greater coordination of services with the victim’s local field office Victim Specialist.

We hope this report provides additional information of value as we work together to protect our nation against cyber threats.

Matt Gorham
Assistant Director
Cyber Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2018_IC3Report.pdf

IC3 Annual Report – 2017 Internet Crime Report

Dear Reader,

2017 was a milestone year for the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). On October 12, 2017, at 4:10pm, the IC3 received its 4 millionth consumer internet crime complaint.

As the lead federal agency for investigating cyber-attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists, the FBI’s IC3 provides the public with a trustworthy and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information concerning suspected Internet facilitated criminal activity. The IC3 also strengthens the FBI’s partnerships with our law enforcement and private industry partners. As cyber criminals become more sophisticated in their efforts to target victims, we must continue to transform and develop in order to address the persistent and evolving cyber threats we face.

The 2017 Internet Crime Report emphasizes the IC3’s efforts in monitoring trending scams such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), Ransomware, Tech Support Fraud, and Extortion.
The report also highlights the Elder Justice Initiative promoting justice for the nation’s seniors. In 2017, IC3 received a total of 301,580 complaints with reported losses exceeding $1.4 Billion.

This past year, the most prevalent crime types reported by victims were Non-Payment/NonDelivery, Personal Data Breach, and Phishing. The top three crime types with the highest
reported loss were BEC, Confidence/Romance fraud, and Non-Payment/Non-Delivery.

This year’s report features success stories from two different successful cases initiated from
IC3 complaints. Additionally, the Operation Wellspring (OWS) Initiative continues to build the cyber investigative capability by utilizing Cyber Task Force officers, thus strengthening state
and local law enforcement collaboration.

We hope this report provides additional information of value as we work together to protect our nation against cyber threats.

Scott S. Smith
Assistant Director
Cyber Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2017_IC3Report.pdf

IC3 Annual Report – 2016 Internet Crime Report

Dear Reader,

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists. With each passing day, cyber intrusions are becoming more sophisticated, dangerous, and common. We continue to transform and develop in order to address the persistent and evolving cyber threats we face.

The FBI’s Internet rime Complaint enter (IC3) provides the public with a trustworthy and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information concerning suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity. The I3 also strengthens the FBI’s partnerships with our law enforcement and industry partners.

The 2016 Internet rime Report highlights the IC3’s efforts in monitoring trending scams such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), ransomware, tech support fraud, and extortion. In 2016, IC3 received a total of 298,728 complaints with reported losses in excess of $1.3 billion.

This past year, the top three crime types reported by victims were non-payment and nondelivery, personal data breach, and payment scams. The top three crime types by reported loss were BEC, romance and confidence fraud, and non-payment and non-delivery scams.

This year’s report features a section on the importance of law enforcement collaboration and partnerships with the private sector and Intelligence Community. For example, the FBI continues to expand Operation Wellspring (OWS), an initiative through which state and local law enforcement officers are embedded in, and trained by, FBI cyber task forces and serve as the primary case agents on Internet-facilitated criminal investigations. Overall, OWS task forces opened 37 investigations in 2016 and have worked 73 total investigations since OWS was launched in August 2013.

We hope this report will assist you as we work in partnership to protect our nation and combat cyber threats.

Scott S. Smith
Assistant Director
Cyber Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Read the full report here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2016_IC3Report.pdf