FBI sees big rise in internet crime complaints, losses

The FBI received nearly 17% more complaints in 2018 than in 2017, and nearly double the losses.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime and Complaint Center received 50,000 more complaints in 2018 (351,936) than in 2017 (301,580), with losses from those complaints amounting to $2.7 billion, a $1.3 billion jump from the $1.4 billion in losses reported in 2017, according to the agency’s recently released crime report.

The report, released Monday, found that California, Texas and Florida rank among the highest states for both the number of victims and the value of losses.

“Those figures are remarkable,” said Peter Baldwin, a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath in New York, in commenting on the report. “Both the number of victims and the amount of losses are extraordinary — if also predictable, given the rise of Internet crime.”

The number of business email compromise, or BEC, schemes – in which hackers break into email accounts and target wire-transfer payments – is also notable, said Baldwin, who focuses on cybersecurity issues, white-collar criminal and internal investigations, and is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of New York and Central District of California.


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