Phishing complaints increased by more than 110% when comparing 2020 to the previous year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) branch called Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The global COVID-19 pandemic caused a record-high number of phishing attacks because cybercriminals took advantage of the fact that so many people became dependent on technology.
What does the IC3 do?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) branch called Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was established in May 2000 as a center to receive complaints of Internet crime. IC3 groups phishing/vishing/smishing/pharming into the same category and describes it as a type of cybercrime where criminals use email, text messages, and telephone calls, pretending to be a legitimate company. Threat actors then request sensitive personal, financial, information, and login credentials.
Atlas VPN’s analysis reveals that phishing in the US soared over 12 times in the last five years, hitting a record 241,342 complaints in 2020In 2016, the FBI’s crime center received 19,465 phishing reports, while in 2020, the number jumped to 241,342, representing an 1140% increase. Phishing-related monetary damages amounted to $54 million in 2020.
Most common internet crimes by type
The FBI received a record number of reports from US citizens in 2020 at 791,790, a 69% growth from 2019. Internet crime caused $700 million from loss in 2019, while the losses due to internet crime increased to $4.2 billion in 2020. The American public was mostly attacked by phishing/vishing/smishing/pharming attacks. The second most common internet crime in the US is non-payment or non-delivery, at 108,889 complaints in 2020, amounting to $265 million in losses.