Throughout 2020, South Carolinians lost more than $30 million to cybercriminals according to Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart.
The results were released in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2020 Internet Crime Report (.pdf), which noted an increase of more than 300,000 suspected internet crime complaints since 2019. Nearly 800,000 were reported in 2020 for a loss of over $4.2 billion nationwide.
“Cybercrimes can inflict lifelong damage to the victims,” DeHart said. “That is why the investigative work of the FBI and the prosecutorial efforts for cybercrime by our office will not end until such crimes come to a halt. Until that day comes, the public must remain vigilant, particularly during the pandemic, to avoid falling prey to the exploitative cybercriminals.”
Victims in South Carolina lost the most money in 2020 to criminals compromising business email and other email accounts, according to the report. The total losses netted over $8.3 million.
The past year also saw the rise of COVID-19 scams with nearly 30,000 complaints made nationwide.
“The pandemic has unfortunately emboldened cyber criminals to try to take advantage of many neighbors, including those working from home and staying home more often in general,” DeHart said. “Our office encourages South Carolinians and South Carolina businesses to protect themselves with video call security measures and additional ways to protect sensitive information.”
Victims of cybercrimes are encouraged to contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.o