RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Cyber fraud is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says is causing headaches for people all over the country, especially in the Commonwealth.
Thursday, cyber squad experts from the Richmond Field Office of the FBI held a cyber security roundtable, providing tips on how individuals and businesses could partner with the FBI to recognize and protect themselves from cyber threats.
“We want to identify, disrupt and dismantle the organizations that want to do harm to our partners,” said cyber squad expert Chris Cope. “It’s important for people to be very cyber-conscious and trust us to come in and at least be that partner and resource to help them mitigate any sort of incidents they may have.”
The FBI said that internet crime accounted for $6.9 billion in losses nationwide last year. Of that, there were 3,729 complaints for ransomware, which accounted for nearly $50 million in losses among victims. Cryptocurrency accounted for $1.6 billion in losses, stemming from 34,202 complaints.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams are among the fastest growing cyber crimes in the country, increasing 60% from 2020 to 2021. Last year, there were 19,954 complaints for BEC, accounting for $2.4 billion in losses.
Statewide, Virginians lost hundreds of billions of dollars in cyber fraud in 2021. Ransomware accounted for $543,500 in losses, while BECs accounted for more than $65,400,117. This is the same crime that cost VCU and other universities and entities across three states a combined total of $5 million.
In a statement, a spokesperson with the university said that in addition to improving its cyber security measures to keep from falling victim to BEC scams again, it was also able to recover a large portion of the money wired overseas.
Special agent in charge of the Richmond Field Office, Stanley Meador, says that while it can be very difficult to recover stolen funds from cyber fraud, the likelihood of getting that money back significantly improves if the incident is reported.
“Often time, we may have the resources to help you work through it, but we can’t help you if we don’t know about it or if we don’t have…