Cybercrime Cost Americans $4.2 Billion in 2020

Just one more reason it’s a year we all want to forget.

The onslaught of COVID-19 in 2020 caused the American public to become increasingly dependent upon technology. Cybercriminals took advantage of this fact, and as a result, instituted a new type of pandemic: a cyber pandemic. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report for 2020, the number of cybercrime complaints rose 69% from the prior year. In total, cybercriminals cost Americans and American businesses an estimated $4.2 billion in damages.

Of all cybercrimes that took place in 2020, BEC (Business Email Compromise) scams were by far the most prevalent and costly form of attack. The FBI’s released statistics from 2020 indicate that BEC crimes alone contributed over $1.8 billion to the total losses. Given the fact that spoofing is often considered a subset of BEC, it is further estimated that the associated loss could be closer to $2.1 billion, approximately half of the total losses in 2020.

During BEC attacks, social engineering tactics are used to trick unsuspecting employees into following the instructions from a seemingly trustworthy source. Typically, the attacker will impersonate a CEO or another high-ranking superior.

The ever-growing threat of cybercrime calls for an increased need for cybersecurity. It is vital for businesses and employees to protect themselves from various frauds and scams online. Below are some easy-but-effective security measures to follow:

  • Verify the sender of an email. Scammers will often pose as a reputable person by changing one letter in the email address.
  • Verify links and attachments by hovering over them to check where they redirect to. Attackers will often embed malicious code in links and attachments.
  • Never trust things that sound too good to be true. Scammers will often entice their victims by luring them in with an unrealistic reward. 

If you are looking to beef up your cybersecurity, feel free to reach out to us at 833-ALPHA-ONE or 334-245-3125.