Ransomware is scary, but another scam is costing victims much, much more, says FBI

Business email compromise (BEC) remains the biggest source of financial losses, which totaled $2.4 billion in 2021, up from an estimated $1.8 billion in 2020, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Internet Crime Center (IC3). 

The FBI says in its 2021 annual report that Americans last year lost $6.9 billion to scammers and cyber criminals through ransomware, BEC, and cryptocurrency theft related to financial and romance scams. In 2020, that figure stood at $4.2 billion

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Last year, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 847,376 complaints about cybercrime losses, up 7% from 791,790 complaints in 2020. 

SEE: This sneaky type of phishing is growing fast because hackers are seeing big paydays

BEC has been the largest source of fraud for several years despite ransomware attacks grabbing most headlines. 

“In 2021, BEC schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion,” said Paul Abbate, deputy director of the FBI, in an introduction to the report.

“In 2021, heightened attention was brought to the urgent need for more cyber incident reporting to the federal government.”

IC3’s statistics in its annual reports are based on information the public submits to its website www.ic3.gov. Since 2017, the

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