SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEHT) – America experienced an unprecedented increase in cyberattacks and malicious internet activity in the recently released 2021 Internet Crime Report. The report was produced by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

IC3 received a total of 847,376 reported complaints. That number is a 7% increase from the previous year with potential losses costing $6.9 billion. The largest age group affected by internet crime in both number of victims and dollar loss were citizens aged 60 and older.

Ransomware, business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes and the criminal use of cryptocurrency are among the top incidents reported. BEC schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion n 2021.

BEC is a sophisticated scam targeting both businesses and individuals performing transfers of funds. The scam is frequently carried out when a subject compromises business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds.  

Illinois was the fifth highest state for number of victims at 17,999 and seventh highest for victim dollar loss at $184.9 million. The top three Internet crimes by dollar loss in Illinois were:

  • BEC – $86,247,797.
  • Investment Fraud – $21, 231,514.
  • Personal Data Breach – $19,759,036.

“Targeting cybercrime is one of the FBI’s highest priorities and our unique partnerships have become an increasingly key part in combating this threat,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “While our private sector partners share the benefit of their insight, knowledge and experience, the FBI shares indicators, tactics, and threat information. This combined intelligence makes us all stronger and provides a better security posture before an incident occurs.”

The IC3 was established by the FBI in May 2000 to receive complaints of internet related crime and has received more than 6.5 million complaints since its inception. The organization averages 552,000 complaints per year over the last five years.

Its mission is to provide the public with a reliable and convenient way to submit information to the FBI concerning suspected internet criminal activity. Another part of IC3’s mission is to develop effective alliances with law enforcement and industry partners to help those who report.

The FBI recommends that the public frequently review consumer and industry alerts published by IC3. Victims of an internet crime should submit a complaint to IC3. Others can also file a complaint on behalf of another person. More details regarding the 2021 Internet Crime Report can be found online.