FBI report: More than $6.9 billion lost to cyber crimes in 2021

A new report by the FBI is sounding the alarm about the growing sophistication of cyber crimes. According to the FBI's 2021 Internet Crime Report, people lost more than $6.9 billion to internet crimes in 2021 – a major jump from the $2 billion in losses reported in 2020.

Over the last two years, the American workforce has gone more virtual than ever, forcing many to adjust to a new normal. At the same time it's given internet criminals a new opportunity to target victims.

"The core cyber crime method which is phishing hasn't changed, but the sophistication of them has," Chief Digital Officer Chris Jenkins said. "The ability of cyber criminals to create more real-looking more compelling fake sites for people to log into has gone up significantly." 

According to the FBI's 2021 Internet Crime report, last year more than 847,000 complaints of suspected internet crime were filed.

"We've become a lot more used to dealing with and communicating with people we're connected to in digital, impersonal ways and because of this, it means that there is a lot more opportunity for someone to reach out to you in some way that's not really identifiable," Jenkins said.

The report mentions new techniques, including one, involving scammers inviting employees to a virtual meeting and using "deepfake" simulated audio of a superior's voice to direct workers to move money into a fraudulent account.

According to the report, email scams cost people the most with the loss estimated at around $2.4 billion followed by investment scams with romance scams coming in a number 3.

"If you're getting communication from someone that you think you know and there's no history of communication in that channel, whether it's text or email, and there's a request for money that's associated with it, always stop and take a second and really evaluate to make sure you're speaking to who you think you are," Jenkins said.