woman on a balcony looking at her phone with a city background

Key Takeaways From the FBI’s 2023 Internet Crime Report (IC3)

As the latest Internet Crime Report is released reflecting the 2022 statistics for internet-based crimes, including those that impact the real estate industry, we are once again reminded that we have a long way to go.

More businesses need to implement innovative software and other defenses to protect consumers – and education, of course, is always a must.

Let’s take a look at a few of the key takeaways from the FBI’s 2022 Internet Crime Report.

2022 Internet Crime Report: The Latest Numbers

Internet crimes encompass many different types of schemes, including phishing, personal data breaches, identity theft, spoofing, non-payment/non-delivery, real estate, ransomware, data breach, and more.

Total dollars lost to internet crime in 2022 topped $10 billion and were up 49% year-over-year. Almost all categories tracked by the FBI experienced increased losses in 2022 from 2021.

In the real estate category alone, almost $400 million was lost across 11,727 victims. That’s almost 50 victims every single business day! While real estate has its own category for fraud, many other categories are directly or indirectly related to real estate fraud including:

Phishing: 300,497 victims with $52,089,159 loss
Personal data breach: 58,859 victims with $742,438,136 loss
Identity theft: 27,922 victims with $189,205,793 loss
Spoofing: 20,649 victims with $107,926,252 loss

A few key points from the report:

Business Email Compromise (BEC) typically involves sophisticated scams to compromise authentic business emails in order to conduct unauthorized business. This is still a very common issue as these are used for gaining personal information, requesting wire transfers, handling cryptocurrency exchanges, etc. This year, there was an increase in targeting investment accounts rather than bank accounts.

In fact, investment scams saw the greatest amount of loss in 2022. The complaints increased 127%, from $1.45 billion in 2021 to $3.31 billion in 2022. Crypto investments saw the greatest increase, rising in losses from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022.

Other key numbers to note:

Victims lost $10.3 Billion in 2022
More than 2,175 complaints are received daily
650,800+ is the average number of complaints received per year
The age group with the greatest number of victims was between 30 and 39
The age group with the greatest number of losses was 60 and older
California, Florida, and Texas had the highest number of victims

Interestingly, Millennials were more likely to be a victim of an internet crime than any other age group (including Boomers).

Current Status Of Real Estate Fraud

Fraudsters are trying different methods of impacting the real estate industry – as evidenced by the aforementioned categories. It’s no surprise then that losses are up from years past. Just take a look:

Real estate industry losses in…

2020: $213,196,082
2021: $350,328,166
2022: $396,932,821

The difference between 2020 and 2022 is incredibly large with losses almost doubling over that two-year period.

Because there are no signs of fraud activity slowing down, those in the real estate industry need to take heed. Large amounts of money are changing hands with each closing – and this makes everyone involved vulnerable.

The Importance of Reporting Crime

As discussed, real estate fraud is very real. Not only do these numbers prove that it is moving in the wrong direction. Sadly, it is becoming commonplace, with local stories of scams and fraudulent activity in the industry making it onto the daily evening news lineup.

The IC3, short for Internet Crime Complaint Center, collects reports of these crimes. Their annual report can give those in the industry – and the public in general – information they need to keep themselves safe.

Of course, the only surefire way to understand the scope of what is happening when it comes to internet crimes is to have the knowledge that they happened in the first place. This is why it is so important to report an incident if you are a victim.

Internet crimes, including real estate scams and fraudulent activity, can be reported directly to the FBI.

Take Steps Now to Protect Your Customers

If you are a title company, a real estate agent, a lender, or anyone else within the real estate industry, now is the time to take the right steps to protect your customers. Getting the word out there about the dangers and what to look out for isn’t enough.

The individuals pulling off these scams are skilled at what they do. They are professionals. Even the most vigilant person can easily fall victim.

Closinglock offers products that provide trusted protection from loss – and leaders in the industry rely on this software to keep their customers safe. In 2022 alone, Closinglock protected over $100 billion in real estate funds by eliminating many of the common fraud vectors like email spoofing, email hacking, social engineering, imposter fraud, and compromised accounts.

Contact us today to learn more about how Closinglock can benefit your customers – or get a closer look at our services with our live demo.