OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Omaha Field Office distributed the FBI's Internet Crime Report for 2021. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) determined in the annual report that Nebraskans lost $19.7 million, while Iowans lost approximately $33.8 million to cybercrime in 2021.
Over the course of the calendar year, the IC3 received a record 847,376 complaints across the nation, which is a 7% increase from the previous year and represents a potential loss of up to $6.9 billion. That means an average of 2,300 complaints were filed each day, and the top overall categories of cybercrime complaints were for ransomware, business email compromise schemes and criminal use of cryptocurrency.
Other common cybercrimes are extortion, identity theft, personal data breaches, threat of non-payment schemes and phishing.
Where do the Heartland states fall in terms of the number of victims? Based on data collected by IC3 analysts, Iowa ranked No. 21 with 8,853 victims of cybercrime in 2021 while Nebraska was ranked No. 36 with 2,407 victims. However, the overall losses suffered by victims of these states were much further down the list: Iowa ranked No. 32 in overall loss at $33,821,569 and Nebraska ranked No. 37 with $19,743,241 in losses by its victims.
Though cybercrime is rampant, the FBI has resources beyond recommending safe digital habits to consumers. The IC3 maintains a Recovery Asset Team, ironically referred to by the acronym RAT, that has operated since 2018 to help victims of cybercrime to freeze their funds and assist with communications between victims and financial institutions. The Internet Crime Report for 2021 showed that the RAT prevented losses of roughly $329 million that would have otherwise been stolen from cybercrime victims across the country.
The RAT also aims to share information on emerging fraud scheme trends and educate the public so that consumers can better protect their personal details such as financial and identification information. The FBI also advises against complying with extortion and ransom cybercrime schemes and practicing caution when encountering unexpected links or attempts to solicit personal details. Those who wish to file a complaint to alert the IC3 of cybercrime are advised to visit this site.
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