FBI report reveals Americans lost billions to internet crimes

File Photo (Pixabay)
Published:
Updated:

A new report by the FBI paints a startling picture into crimes happening online to unsuspecting Americans.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center released data from nearly half a million complaints and found that in 2019 the top three types of internet crimes included phishing scams, non-payment or non-delivery, and extortion.

Unsuspecting victims lost more than $3.5 billion due to internet crimes in 2019.

Advertisement - Story continues below

“Scammers are actually really good at what they do, and they are very smart, and they make things look really legitimate,” said Jessica Kapcar, spokesperson for BBB Central Ohio. “So it’s hard sometimes to tell if something is real or if it's fake.”

The FBI report reveals the age group most impacted by internet crimes is people who are over the age of 60. In 2019, that group alone lost more than $835 million to internet crimes.

“What I recommend is always going straight to the source, not clicking on any links that are included on those emails, because that could download malware on your computer or your devices,” Kapcar said.

Kapcar also says it is helpful for people to come forward when they are affected by these types of crimes. The information will help law enforcement agencies, like the FBI, open investigations and pursue charges. Additionally, consumer protection groups, like the BBB, will be able to warn others of potential dangers.

“There shouldn’t be embarrassment that goes with it. I think it happens more frequently than we even know,” Kapcar said.