It is an all-too-common occurrence: The phone rings and a panicked client on the other end of the line has been impacted by an online fraud. Fraud on the internet is carried out daily, with new and inventive methods of attack being put into practice to mask and conceal the crime at hand until it is “too late.” While we have all learned to identify and avoid certain suspicious behaviors, bad actors continue to develop new and inventive ways to procure sensitive data, receive payments under fraudulent pretexts and otherwise perpetrate crimes with the benefit of the relative anonymity and obscurity that is afforded by the internet.
According to the 2021 report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the IC3 alone received more than 2.75 million complaints and reported losses of $18.7 billion from 2017 to 2021. See Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internet Crime Report 2021. Broader studies seeking to understand the global impact of such activities suggest total losses actually range in the hundreds of billions per year, depending on the study. Regardless of the source, one thing is clear: The cost of frauds resulting from spoofed websites designed to collect sensitive consumer data, email account compromise designed to extract payments from unwitting customers by sending apparently legitimate requests for invoice payment, and even more involved frauds are impacting clients by costing them real dollars, damaging their reputation and customer relationships, and otherwise putting a strain on their ability to conduct business.