Anchorage FBI Office releases annual Internet Cyber Crime Report

Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 4:59 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Anchorage FBI Office has released its annual Internet Cyber Crime Report.

According to Chloe Martin, Public Affairs Officer for the FBI Anchorage Field Office, the report is a gathering of data used to show trends in internet crime and scams across the country.

“For us here in Alaska, [it’s] to analyze prevalent scams - what really impacted Alaskans over the course of last year in the world of cybercrime,” Martin explained. “When you’re looking at it, very quickly it became evident that you have a trend of crimes, cyber crimes, that were affecting Alaskans, more so than others.”

In 2021, more than 1,700 victims across the State of Alaska reported losses due to these scams, with a total loss of around $13 million.

“When you’re looking at the data for the accompanying Alaska state report from the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center,” Martin continued, “we see that the top three cyber crimes reported by victims were actually government impersonation scams - it was extortion and phishing scams. However, we can also see that victims lost the most money to a whole-other three major categories of scams - and that includes investment scams and fraud, business email compromise, and romance scams. One of the larger ones that disproportionately impacts Alaska’s senior population is romance scams, and what we call competence fraud. Essentially when you have normally formed online [contact] through social media or a dating app, this perceived relationship is formed - and that stranger online you might think you know starts requesting money or items of value in return for this relationship.”

Martin explained that there are a few key red flags to watch out for to prevent falling victim to one of these scams. “There’s a few good practices that you can really apply towards all of these. There are more detailed methods on cyber hygiene, and ways to not only protect yourself but your computer from falling victim to these scams and different types of schemes. But really, to protect yourself from falling victim to these schemes, be wary of answering phone calls or text messages from numbers you don’t recognize. Do not send money or gift cards to any individual that you don’t know personally, and never give out your personal information over the phone or to individuals you don’t know.”

According to the FBI, any suspicious activity can be reported to their online internet crime complaint center.

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