Kusserow on Compliance: FBI’s latest report on efforts to curb cyber-crimes

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was created to gather data on a new but rapidly growing type of crime. In its first full year of operation, the center received 50,000 complaints that has grown to over 5 million reports of thefts, scams, frauds, and other crimes with an online nexus, resulting in over $10 billion in losses since 2015 alone. In its report, the FBI made note that threat mitigation is its top priority regarding cyber-crime. The IC3 has allowed for increased reporting and information sharing, which often prevents further victimization, and enables accountability.

The crimes catalogued by the IC3 have mirrored the evolution of the web across two decades, including the growth in sophistication of crimes as well as the number of crimes as the web has become a central feature of daily life. In the first full year of IC3 reporting, the most commonly reported crimes included internet auction fraud, non-delivery schemes, advance payment schemes, and credit card fraud. Since then, threats have evolved into more destructive and costly data breaches and network intrusions, ransomware, romance scams, and sophisticated financial crimes such as business email compromise. Scammers are ready to exploit various tragedies and disasters, such as Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, and the Boston bombings.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis, scammers are working overtime with fake cures, investments schemes, selling personal protective equipment without the inventory on hand, and looking to take advantage of a more concentrated online presence during a time of increased telework and distance learning. Criminals are exploiting a public health emergency to steal from and deceive people who are vulnerable, worried, or seeking vital supplies and assistance.

In 2018, there was the creation of the FBI’s Recovery Asset Team (RAT) to streamline communication between financial institutions and FBI field offices to prevent criminals from successfully obtaining funds through fraudulent transactions. The RAT effectively recovered over $300 million in 2019 alone. Last year, the RAT, along with IC3’s Recovery and Investigative Development (RAID) team, brought together law enforcement and financial institutions to share data to gain a better understanding of the networks and methods used by cyber fraudsters resulting in the enhanced ability to identify criminals.


Richard P. Kusserow served as DHHS Inspector General for 11 years. He currently is CEO of Strategic Management Services, LLC (SM), a firm that has assisted more than 3,000 organizations and entities with compliance related matters. The SM sister company, CRC, provides a wide range of compliance tools including sanction-screening.

Connect with Richard Kusserow on LinkedIn.

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Copyright © 2020 Strategic Management Services, LLC. Published with permission.