ANCHORAGE, AK— The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its annual report on Friday. It found Americans have lost billions to online crimes.
The report found that there was an increase of more than 300,000 complaints regarding suspected online crime from 2019—and reported losses exceeding $4.2 billion.
In a news release, the FBI said, "2020 saw the emergence of scams exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic. The IC3 received over 28,500 complaints related to COVID-19, with fraudsters targeting both businesses and individuals."
The FBI warns, do not answer phone calls from numbers you do not recognize. Do not send money or gift cards to anybody that you do not personally know and trust. Never give out your personally identifiable information over the phone or to individuals you do not know.
"In some schemes, like government impersonation scams, criminals pose as government employees calling from a spoofed number and will threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds, gift cards, or obtain personal identifiable information," the FBI said in a news release. "These calls are fraudulent; no legitimate law enforcement officer will make unsolicited calls demanding payment, gift cards, or personally identifiable information from a member of the public."
The FBI has asked people to immediately report suspected criminal online activity to the IC3 at ic3.gov.
"By reporting Internet crime, victims are not only alerting law enforcement to the activity but also aiding in the overall fight against cybercrime," the FBI said in a news release.