The FBI reported Wednesday that Montaner lost nearly $ 380,000 to online fraudsters in 2020.
According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report, non-payment or non-delivery fraud costs more than $ 264 million. Credit card fraud caused additional losses of $ 129 million nationwide.
Special Agent Casey Harrington from the FBI’s Salt Lake City office explains how the scammers work.
“So it’s a big time of year for buyers and a big time of year for retailers, so it’s a big time of year for scammers,” said Special Agent Harrington. “They want to use this online demand for toys and other products to try to get people to reveal their personal information, their credit card details, and their login details in order to benefit financially.”
Harrington said the numbers reported to the FBI are actually a fraction of the actual losses US consumers have suffered
“It’s millions of dollars and that’s probably only a fraction of what actually happens,” he said. “Many things are not reported or may not be reported through IC3. You may go to the local police department. We probably don’t even know a lot of it, but it can easily run into the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. “
Harrington says everyone remembers the Nigerian Prince email scandals from years ago, but they are amateurs comparing the online pirates of today.
“The criminals keep getting better,” he said. There is no doubt. 20 years ago everyone was talking about fraudulent emails from the Nigerian Prince and there were spelling and grammatical errors but it is no longer so. You can compose email and text messages to look absolutely accurate. You really need to know what you are doing and really need to be careful to notice the difference. We want to make sure people are vigilant and know what to look out for when they receive these emails or text messages. “
Harrington went on to describe the FBI’s special online investigative unit called IC3 (Internet Crime Control Center).
“IC3 is the cybercrime complaint center,” he said. “They accept victim information from all over the world. Thousands of people talking about internet fraud every day and it really helps us spot trends and significant activity. So when we see a certain email or website or technique being used by these actors, we can open an investigation and try to find out who is doing it, so it really helps us determine where we are should use our resources. It also helps to get communications to the public. “
For more information, please click on this link for the IC3 this Christmas gift buying season.