More than 2,600 New Mexico victims of internet scams reported losing almost $13 million in 2021, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Business email compromise/email account compromise scams accounted for $2.7 million in losses, followed by confidence fraud/romance scams at almost $2 million, according to an FBI news release.
“This report should be a wake-up call for everyone who uses the internet,” said Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda of the Albuquerque FBI Division. “What is particularly heart-breaking is the large number of our older New Mexico residents who were victimized. The FBI is working overtime to identify and stop these scammers, but the public can help us by immediately reporting suspected criminal internet activity to ic3.gov.”
According to IC3, New Mexico residents older than 60 made up the largest share of victims and losses by age group: 671 victims reported $6.6 million in losses.
New Mexico’s 2021 total numbers show a notable decrease from the previous year, with an almost 50 percent reduction in losses. In 2020, 3,427 victims in New Mexico reported $23.9 million in losses.
Part of the decrease is attributable to the reduction in business email compromise losses. In 2020, that type of scam accounted for more than $9.9 million in losses.
Nationally, the 2021 report includes information from more than 847,000 complaints of suspected internet crime — a 7 percent increase from 2020 — and reported losses exceeding $6.9 billion.
In addition to statistics, the IC3’s 2021 Internet Crime Report contains information about the most prevalent internet scams affecting the public and offers guidance for prevention and protection. It also highlights the FBI’s work combating internet crime.
The IC3 gives the public a reliable and convenient mechanism to report suspected internet crime to the FBI. The FBI analyzes and shares information from submitted complaints for investigative and intelligence purposes, for law enforcement and for public awareness.
By reporting internet crime, victims are not only alerting law enforcement to the activity, but also aiding in the overall fight against cybercrime, according to the press release.
To report an online crime or view IC3’s annual reports and public service announcements, visit ic3.gov.