FBI: 29 victims of Web crimes in NMI in 2021

Fraud losses: $705,244

Nationally, the CNMI ranks 56th among states and territories that reported incidents of cyber and internet crimes in 2021, with records showing 29 victims and a total of $705,244 in fraud losses.

In comparison, Guam ranks 55th nationwide with 64 victims and $2,168,956 in fraud losses. American Samoa ranks 57th with 25 victims and $177,533 in fraud losses.

By number of victims and loss, California tops all states with 67,095 victims and $1.22 billion in losses.

These numbers form part of the 2021 Internet Crime Annual Report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation released yesterday, showing that the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, received 847,376 complaints from the American public last year. That is a 7% increase over the totals recorded in 2020, with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion.

IC3, which was established in May 2000, provides the American public with a direct outlet to report cybercrimes to the FBI. It has received more than 6.5 million complaints since its inception.

According to the FBI’s report, the IC3’s Recovery Asset Team has proven to be a valuable source for field offices and victims.

RAT’s contributions to investigation and recovery efforts posted to date a 74% success rate by freezing $328.32 million in funds out of $443.48 million in losses from 1,726 incidents.

By age group, most of the victims are those 60 years old and above, while the youngest victims are those under 20 years old.

As to crime types, the most common is phishing/vishing/pharming. This is the use of unsolicited email, text messages, and telephone calls purportedly from a legitimate company requesting personal, financial, and/or login credentials.

FBI deputy director Paul Abbate said in the report that among the 2021 complaints received, ransomware, business e-mail compromise schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency are among the top incidents reported.

Abbate said that, in 2021, business e-mail compromise, or BEC, schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints, with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion.

He said in 2021, America experienced an unprecedented increase in cyberattacks and malicious cyber activity.

“These cyberattacks compromised businesses in an extensive array of business sectors as well as the American public,” Abbate said.

The deputy director said that, as the cyber threat evolves and becomes increasingly intertwined with traditional foreign intelligence threats and emerging technologies, the FBI continues to leverage their unique authorities and partnerships to impose risks and consequences on the nation’s cyber adversaries.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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