South Carolinians lost more than $30M to cybercriminals over past year, officials say

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Authorities are urging people to be vigilant when it comes to internet crimes and scams.

The FBI’s 2020 Internet Crimes Report shows South Carolinians lost more than $30 million to cybercriminals in the past year.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, M. Rhett DeHart, says cybercrimes can inflict lifelong damage to victims and urges the public to be aware of scams so they do not fall victim.

“That is why the investigative work of the FBI and the prosecutorial efforts for cybercrime by our office will not end until such crimes come to a halt.  Until that day comes, the public must remain vigilant, particularly during the pandemic, to avoid falling prey to the exploitative cybercriminals,” said U.S Attorney DeHart.

According to DeHart’s office, the annual report from the FBI noted an increase of more than 300,000 suspected internet crime complaints from 2019, with nearly 800,000 reported in 2020 for reported losses of over $4.2 billion nationwide.

Officials say victims lost the most money in 2020 due to business email compromise, email account compromise and romance scams.

Victims of BEC/EAC crimes in South Carolina reported losses of over $8.3 million, while victims of romance scams in South Carolina reported losses of more than $4.4 million, according to Attorney DeHart’s office.

2020 also led to the emergence of COVID-19 scams.  Nealy 30,000 complaints by individuals and businesses have been reported across the country for crimes related to the pandemic scams.