FBI Reports 552,000 Scam Complaints
Dark web hackers, in 2021, made a major haul from phishing scams, ransomware, and other types of cyber scams. Globally, victims were duped out of US$6.9 billion last year, as revealed by the FBI’s recently released Internet Crime Report.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which is monitored by the FBI stated that consumers have reported approximately 552,000 scam complaints. which according to the agency, has continued to increase each year. Since 2017, criminal hackers have launched various dark web scams that have targeted hundreds of global businesses and even individuals. Most of the reported Internet scams include extortion, identity theft, phishing, fraud, and a variety of other criminal activities, with an estimated price tag of US$18.7 billion in damages.
Hackers Stole US$4.2 Billion in 2020
In its research, the FBI agent revealed that over five years, the cost of Internet crimes expenditures has increased ten-fold. With an increase in Internet activity since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, in the year 2020, the estimate for theft committed by hackers is about US$4.2 billion. And in 2021, the agency recorded almost a 50 percent jump, the security company has tracked 847,376 consumer complaints and estimated US$6.9 billion in theft.
The criminal activities carried out by hackers have also doubled with phishing scams accounting for most of the cyber attacks launched in previous years. In 2021, cyber security analysts reported that phishing attacks reported by victims totaled 323,972 criminal offenses.
BEC Scam Fetched $2.4 Million
Business email compromise BEC, which is a new form of cyber scam entails criminal hackers duping companies, and individuals to reveal private login information for financial related accounts. With legitimate email accounts, the dark web hacking group would gain access to tax-related W2 forms,s or even private passwords of cryptocurrency wallets. Above all, when the scammer wipes out all the assets in the cryptocurrency wallet, they will then offer for sales the identification and credentials of the victims on the dark web.
FBI Exposed BEC Scams
According to the FBI, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent transition to all-virtual everything was part of the reason for the rise in BEC scams carried out by dark web hackers.
Additionally, the FBI cautioned that BEC, overtime, will evolve into much harder to detect scams, as scammers continue to develop even more sophisticated hacking tools. So far, the BEC scam’s main targets are small local companies, and even large enterprises. In addition to personal transactions carried out by consumers.
In their annual report, the IC3 documented a 65 percent increase in scam losses. The effect is felt globally with victims from across 177 countries, between July 2019 and December 2021. With their final report, it shows that, over a five year span, BEC scams defrauded many businesses and consumers at least $43.3 billion between June 2016 and December 2021.