Michiganders lost $181 million to internet crimes last year, FBI report shows | #phishing | #scams


From ransomware to romance scams, cybercrimes cost Michiganders $181 million last year.

The 2021 FBI Internet Crimes Report ranks Michigan as one of the top 10 states for losses with nearly 11,000 victims.

Top crimes include phishing, non-payment, personal data breach, identity theft and extortion. The highest losses nationally were reported by older victims with those over 60 years old accounting for nearly a quarter of losses.

The FBI report also shows that total losses from internet crimes have increased nearly 400% in the past five years, going from $1.4 billion in 2017 to $6.9 billion in 2021.

Alan Rea, the co-director of cybersecurity programs at Western Michigan University, attributes this increase in part to the growth of e-commerce. Online retail sales in the United States reached $870 billion last year —a 14% increase from 2020.

“There’s more people using these e-commerce venues, so of course it’s going to go up,” he said. “Everything is more sophisticated. Attackers are more sophisticated, some attacks are easier to do and we have more people using it.”

Phishing, emails designed to trick people into falling for a scam, accounted for the biggest chunk of last year’s internet victims. Of the nearly 550,000 victims, about 60% of them reported losses from phishing scams.

Rea says there’s so many phishing complaints because the scam works.

“Think about how easy it is to send out multiple emails,” he said. “We get so much coming across our virtual desks now. Everybody does over the phone, computer, email or social media, and all it takes is once.”

Business email compromises, a scam that targets businesses and individuals to transfer money to fraudulent bank accounts, was the costliest cybercrime last year with nearly $2.4 billion in losses.

Losses from cryptocurrency scams increased nearly sevenfold, the FBI says, from about $246 million in 2020 to more than $1.6 billion reported last year.

To avoid becoming a victim of an internet crime, Rea encourages people to be vigilant online.

“Be aware of what site you’re on and what information you’re sharing,” he said.

More on MLive:

Cryptocurrency scams on the rise. Michiganders have lost thousands.

Pfizer asks employees who were overpaid as result of a ransomware attack to pay company back

Pets, fake prizes among top online scams in 2021 for West Michigan, Better Business Bureau reports



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