The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) announced that it received one million complaints about online scams and investment fraud over 14 months.
This period expanded across 2019 and 2020, including a variety of different scams like romance fraud, business email compromises and celebrity crypto hoaxes.
The IC3 also revealed that the total number of reports increased by approximately 70% between the two years. However, experts say that this could indicate positive news, as victims feel more comfortable asking help and know where to submit their reports.
In the past, victims of romance fraud haven often been too embarrassed to admit what’s happened and therefore avoid submitting reports.
Another reason for the number of reports increasing is the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide stay-at-home orders have led people to be more susceptible to online crimes. Scammers have taken advantage of an increase in general internet activity to reach more targets.
Online dating expert Charly Lester said on a recent episode of The GDI Podcast that with everyone spending more time at home, crimes like burglaries have dropped, so criminals adapted and started engaging in internet-based schemes.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, estimated that romance fraud cost UK victims £63 million throughout 2020.
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