AARP Eye Center
Americans were hit by an unprecedented rise in cybercrime in 2021, with nearly 850,000 reports to the FBI and losses surpassing $6.9 billion.
Older Americans bore the brunt of the financial hit, the FBI Internet Crime Report 2021 says.
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Consider tech-support scams, which can start with a pop-up ad or warning on your computer. In these scams, criminals purport to have detected a problem with your device that they can fix — but there’s no glitch and they’re only after your money.
Overall, there were nearly 24,000 tech-support complaints to the FBI last year, and 60 percent of victims of this type of scam were age 60 or older.
Ransomware attacks on the rise
The FBI says the total number of reports was fueled by increases in ransomware attacks, business e-mail compromise schemes and criminal use of cryptocurrency. Overall reports jumped 7 percent from 2020.
Last year’s never-before-seen escalation in computer-enabled crimes and attacks struck not only average people but also an extensive array of business sectors, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate says in the March 22 report.
Among key findings in the 2021 report:
- People ages 40 to 49 filed 89,184 reports to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, ic3.gov. Their losses rose to $1.19 billion.
- People ages 50 to 59 filed fewer reports, 74,460, but suffered larger losses, $1.26 billion.
- People age 60 and older filed 92,371 reports with even steeper losses, $1.68 billion. A caveat: That’s a larger demographic group, since it takes in people who are in their 60s, 70s, 80s and older, so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison with the middle-aged adults.