Cybersecurity

FBI report: How much internet crime cost the US in 2020

image of a laptop

Online scams have risen significantly during the pandemic. Image: Unsplash/Anton Murygin

Niall McCarthy
Data Journalist, Statista
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Cybersecurity?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Cybersecurity is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Cybersecurity

  • An FBI report has shown that 2020 was the worst on record for victims of internet crime in the US.
  • The resulting financial losses came to a total of $4.2 billion.
  • The most common internet crimes were phishing, non-payment/non-delivery scams and extortion, with 28,500 complaints associated with COVID-19 fraud.
  • Fraudulent activity also included asking people to pay for their vaccinations.

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has released its 2020 Internet Crime Report, which found that 2020 was a record year for both victims of internet crime and dollar losses in the United States. 791,790 complaints were logged by IC3 in the last calendar year with total losses amounting to $4.2 billion. The most frequent internet crimes recorded in 2020 were phishing, non-payment/non-delivery scams and extortion. Business Email Compromise schemes were the costliest internet crimes last year with adjusted losses of $1.8 billion.

Have you read?

2020 was notable for the emergence of schemes exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic with both individuals and businesses targeted. Some 28,500 complaints were received relating to Covid-19 scams with most of them aimed at the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). They mainly involved grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing for Personally Identifiable Information. In many cases, victims did not realise they had been targeted until they attempted to file their own legitimate claims for unemployment insurance benefits.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing about improving online safety?

Another growing problem throughout the pandemic has been criminals impersonating government representatives over the phone, via email and through social media. Through charades and threats, they managed to gain both money and personal information. Scams have also emerged as the pace of vaccinations accelerated where people have been asked to pay for jabs out of pocket or to provide personal information in exchange for appointments.

a graph showing the financial losses suffered by victims of internet crime reported to the FBI
The amount of money lost due to internet crime has drastically increased from 2012 - 2020. Image: Statista
Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
CybersecurityCOVID-19
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

3 trends set to drive cyberattacks and ransomware in 2024

Scott Sayce

February 22, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum