Nicola Sharp, of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli, considers the situation.

The FBI has stated that online scams involving losses totalling $10 billion were reported to it in 2022 - a $3 billion-plus rise on the previous year.

According to the FBI Internet Crime Report, the main contributing factor was cryptocurrency investment fraud. Reports of crypto investment fraud almost tripled.

Such fraud involves individuals being duped into investing money into schemes that are either non-existent or worth very little. In many cases, fake cryptocurrency trading platforms are created to entice victims into signing up so that their money and / or personal details can then be taken. Those carrying out such fraud may also pretend to be financial advisers in order to lure people into providing personal information.

The global rise of the cryptocurrency industry in recent years, and the ways it can be used to commit crime, make it unsurprising that the US – along with other countries, including the UK – is seeing a huge increase in crypto-related fraud.

The Internet Crime Report details other complaints about fraudulent activity, including marketing scams, business email compromise attacks (where a criminal attempts to trick someone into transferring funds or revealing sensitive information), call centre fraud and ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is becoming a prominent threat to those online, according to the FBI. More than one-third of the 2,385 ransomware attacks reported to the FBI last year targeted organisations in what is classed as the US' critical infrastructure sector. Call centre fraud, which mainly targeted people over 60, accounted for $724 million in losses.

The FBI Internet Crime Report is used to help policymakers track and monitor fraudulent schemes with a view to understanding how they work so that ways can be devised to prevent them and protect the US economy.

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