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The big picture: Cyber criminals managed to swindle more than $10.2 billion from Americans in 2022 according to the latest data from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The service, which serves as a public resource to submit reports about cyberattacks, logged 800,994 complaints last year. That is down five percent from 2021 but the total financial impact grew substantially, from $6.9 billion to over $10.2 billion.
Over the last five years, IC3 has received an average of 651,800+ complaints each year. Since its inception in 2000, more than 7.3 million total reports have been filed. The $10.2 billion loss by victims in 2022 was the highest in the program's history.
Phishing schemes were the most commonly reported cyber crime in 2022, accounting for more than a third of all complaints. In fact, phishing reports have been the top crime type each year since 2019. But it was investment scams that were the costliest last year, increasing from $1.45 billion in 2021 to $3.31 billion in 2022.
Within that category, cryptocurrency investment fraud skyrocketed from $907 million to $2.57 billion in the same time frame. Despite frequently topping headlines over the course of 2022, ransomware attacks accounted for just 2,385 complaints and $34.3 million in losses. The healthcare sector was the top target for these types of attacks followed by critical manufacturing facilities.
Americans over the age of 60 were hit hardest by online scams, collectively losing $3.1 billion last year. Those under 20 lost the least amount of money at $210.5 million and filed the fewest complains – 15,782.
It is worth noting that the FBI's figures only represent incidents reported to the IC3. The actual number of successful scams and the amount of money stolen from victims is no doubt far greater than what these figures suggest.
Several factors could play into why a victim might not report a cyber crime, including shame or the belief that the loss was not costly enough to bother filing a complaint.
Image credit: Nick Youngson