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Read the most recent Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3, 2017), and then address these
issues.
– What are the main goals of IC3?
– Describe in detail their data collection and analysis strategies.
– Describe three key findings for 2017.
– According to the 2017 report, how does Texas compare with other states?
Type your answers in Times New Roman 12 and use double spacing
2017_ic3report.pdf

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2017 Internet Crime Report
2017 INTERNET CRIME REPORT
Table of Contents
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….3
About the Internet Crime Complaint Center ……………………………………………………………..4
IC3 History………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
The IC3 Role in Combating Cyber Crime ……………………………………………………………………… 5
Collection ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Analysis ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
Public Awareness …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
Referrals …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
Supporting Law Enforcement …………………………………………………………………………………7
IC3 Database Remote Access…………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
Successes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
Operation Wellspring (OWS) Initiative ……………………………………………………………………….. 9
Hot Topics for 2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 12
Business Email Compromise (BEC) …………………………………………………………………………… 12
Ransomware …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13
Tech Support Fraud ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14
Elder Justice Initiative…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Extortion……………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………………16
2017 Overall Statistics………………………………………………………………………………………… 17
2017 Victims by Age Group …………………………………………………………………………………. 17
Top 20 Foreign Countries by Victim ………………………………………………………………………. 18
Top 10 States by Number of Victims …………………………………………………………………….. 19
Top 10 States by Victim Loss ………………………………………………………………………………. 19
2017 Crime Types ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 20
2017 Overall State Statistics ………………………………………………………………………………… 22
Appendix A: Crime Type Definitions ……………………………………………………………………… 26
2
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Introduction
Dear Reader,
2017 was a milestone year for the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint
Center (IC3). On October 12, 2017, at 4:10pm, the IC3 received its
4 millionth consumer internet crime complaint.
As the lead federal agency for investigating cyber-attacks by
criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists, the FBI’s IC3
provides the public with a trustworthy and convenient reporting
mechanism to submit information concerning suspected Internetfacilitated criminal activity. The IC3 also strengthens the FBI’s
partnerships with our law enforcement and private industry
partners. As cyber criminals become more sophisticated in their efforts to target victims, we
must continue to transform and develop in order to address the persistent and evolving cyber
threats we face.
The 2017 Internet Crime Report emphasizes the IC3’s efforts in monitoring trending scams
such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), Ransomware, Tech Support Fraud, and Extortion.
The report also highlights the Elder Justice Initiative promoting justice for the nation’s seniors.
In 2017, IC3 received a total of 301,580 complaints with reported losses exceeding $1.4 Billion.
This past year, the most prevalent crime types reported by victims were Non-Payment/NonDelivery, Personal Data Breach, and Phishing. The top three crime types with the highest
reported loss were BEC, Confidence/Romance fraud, and Non-Payment/Non-Delivery.
This year’s report features success stories from two different successful cases initiated from
IC3 complaints. Additionally, the Operation Wellspring (OWS) Initiative continues to build the
cyber investigative capability by utilizing Cyber Task Force officers, thus strengthening state
and local law enforcement collaboration.
We hope this report provides additional information of value as we work together to protect
our nation against cyber threats.
Scott S. Smith
Assistant Director
Cyber Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation
3
2017 Internet Crime Report
About the Internet Crime Complaint Center
The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the
United States.
The mission of the IC3 is to provide the public with a reliable and convenient reporting
mechanism to submit information to the FBI concerning suspected Internet-facilitated
criminal activity, and to develop effective alliances with industry partners. Information is
analyzed and disseminated for investigative and intelligence purposes, for law enforcement,
and for public awareness.
In an effort to promote public awareness, the IC3 produces this annual report to aggregate
and highlight the data provided by the general public. The quality of the data is directly
attributable to the information ingested via the public interface www.ic3.gov. The IC3
attempts to standardize the data by categorizing each complaint based on the information
provided. The IC3 staff analyzes the data to identify trends in Internet-facilitated crimes and
what those trends may represent in the coming year.
IC3 History
In May 2000, the IC3 was established as a center to receive complaints of Internet crime. There
have been 4,063,933 complaints reported to the IC3 since its inception. Over the last five
years, the IC3 has received an average of more than 284,000 complaints per year. The
complaints address a wide array of Internet scams affecting victims across the globe. 1
1
Accessibility description: Image includes yearly and aggregate data for complaints and losses over the years
2013 to 2017. Over that time period, IC3 received a total of 1,420,555 complaints, and a total reported loss of
$5.52 billion.
4
Internet Crime Complaint Center
The IC3 Role in Combating Cyber Crime2
WHAT WE DO
Central Hub to
Alert the Public
Partner with Private
Sector and with Local,
State, Federal, and
International Agencies
Victims Report
Internet Crime via
www.ic3.gov
Host Remote Access
Database for all Law
Enforcement via the
FBI’s LEEP3 website
Increase
Victim Reporting
via Outreach
Collection
Victims are encouraged and often directed by law enforcement to file a complaint online
at www.ic3.gov. Complainants are asked to document accurate and complete information
related to the Internet crime, as well as any other relevant information necessary to support
the complaint. In addition to reporting the crime via www.ic3.gov, complainants should take
steps to mitigate further loss. Victims can take actions such as contacting banks, credit card
companies, and/or credit bureaus to block accounts, freeze accounts, dispute charges, or
attempt recovery of lost funds. Victims should be diligent in reviewing credit reports to dispute
any unauthorized transactions and should also consider credit monitoring services.
2
Accessibility description – image depicts what IC3 does to include providing a central hub to alert the public:
partner with private sector and with local, state, federal, and international agencies; host a remote access
database for all law enforcement via the FBI’s LEEP website; victim reporting at www.ic3.gov; and increase victim
reporting via outreach.
3
Federal Bureau of Investigation. Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP)
5
2017 Internet Crime Report
Analysis
The IC3 is the central point for Internet crime victims to report and alert the appropriate
agencies to suspected criminal Internet activity. The IC3 reviews and analyzes data submitted
through its website, and produces intelligence products to highlight emerging threats and new
trends.
Public Awareness
Public service announcements
(PSAs), scam alerts, and other
publications outlining specific
scams
are
posted
to
the www.ic3.gov website. As
more people become aware of
Internet crimes and the methods
utilized to carry them out,
potential victims are equipped
with a broader understanding of
the dangers associated with
Internet activity and are in a
better position to avoid falling
prey to schemes online.
Collection
Analysis
Referrals
Public
Awarness
IC3 Core Functions 4
Referrals
The IC3 aggregates related complaints to build referrals, which are forwarded to local, state,
federal, and international law enforcement agencies for potential investigation. If law
enforcement conducts an investigation and determines a crime has been committed, legal
action may be brought against the perpetrator.
4
Accessibility description: image contains the IC3 logo against a digital background. Core functions are listed in
individual blocks- Collection, Analysis, Public Awareness, and Referrals as components of an ongoing process.
6
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Supporting Law Enforcement
IC3 Database Remote Access
All sworn law enforcement can remotely access and search the IC3 database through the FBI’s
Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP).
LEEP is a gateway providing law enforcement agencies, intelligence groups, and criminal
justice entities access to beneficial resources all in one centralized location. These resources
can be used to strengthen case development for investigators and enhance information
sharing between agencies. This web-based access additionally provides users the ability to
identify and aggregate victims and losses within a jurisdiction.
The IC3 expanded the remote search capabilities of the IC3 database by allowing users to
gather IC3 complaint statistics. Users now have the ability to run city, state, county, and
country reports and sort by crime type, age, and transactional information. The user can also
run overall crime type reports and sort by city, state, and country. The report results can be
returned as a portable document format (PDF) or exported to Excel. This search capability
allows users to better understand the scope of cyber crime in their area of jurisdiction and
enhance cases.
Successes
International Investment Scam: FBI Houston
Beginning in 2015, the IC3 provided multiple complaints to FBI Houston regarding an
elaborate investment scheme. The scheme involved the impersonation of Branch Banking &
Trust (BB&T) and JPMorgan Chase (Chase) executives, the fabrication of U.S. government
documents, the creation of fraudulent investment agreements in the name of BB&T and
Chase, and the purchase of luxury vehicles to launder the proceeds of the scheme. It was
perpetrated by individuals primarily living in West Africa, who impersonated U.S. bank
officials and financial consultants, and made fraudulent offers of investment funding to
victims all over the world via the Internet and phone. Victims were deceived into believing
they would receive millions of dollars of investment funding as part of joint ventures with
U.S. banks, usually BB&T or Chase. The perpetrators utilized false domain names to make it
appear their emails were affiliated with BB&T or Chase. To convince victims the
opportunities were authentic, the perpetrators recruited U.S. citizens to pose as bank
“representatives” at in-person meetings with the victims. If the victims lived outside the
U.S., the perpetrators orchestrated bogus visits to the local U.S. embassy or consulate and
fabricated U.S. government documents to convince the victims the U.S. government was
sponsoring the investment agreements. The victims were then induced to pay tens of
thousands, and often hundreds of thousands, of dollars to U.S.-based bank accounts on the
belief that such payments were necessary to effectuate their investment agreements.
7
2017 Internet Crime Report
Once the funds hit the U.S.-based accounts, money movers controlling the accounts used
various means to liquidate the proceeds and move the funds to West Africa, including
outgoing wire transfers to exporters, cash withdrawals, and the purchase of luxury vehicles
which were shipped to West Africa.
The scheme allegedly resulted in losses of more than $7 million from victims in more than 20
countries. To date, a house in Richmond, vehicles and approximately $200,000 in cash, all
directly traceable to victims’ payments, have been seized 5.
Harassment/Extortion: FBI Los Angeles
Since October 2017, FBI Los Angeles has been investigating a reported intrusion of a
company’s network that also involved harassment and extortion by an unknown subject.
This individual continuously harassed the company with emails and phone calls that greatly
impacted the victim company’s business. The harassment continued until the company
agreed to make payments for the attacks to stop.
The case was initiated by an IC3 complaint sent to FBI Los Angeles. During the course of the
investigation, IC3 linked another complaint to the victim company and provided that
information to FBI Los Angeles as well. The information contained within the linked IC3
complaint was instrumental in providing probable cause for a search warrant and then used
in the interview of a subject, which ultimately led to a full confession.
5International
Investment Scam Details
8
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Operation Wellspring (OWS) Initiative
Operation Wellspring builds the cyber investigative capability and capacity of the state and
local law enforcement community. Through close collaboration with FBI field offices, IC3 helps
state and local law enforcement partners identify and respond to malicious cyber activity.
Key Components


Serves as a national platform to
receive, develop, and refer
Internet-facilitated fraud
complaints.
Coordinates with FBI Cyber and
Criminal components.


Trains state and local law enforcement
officers on cyber crime investigations.
Addresses Internet-facilitated criminal cases
not meeting most federal investigative
thresholds by utilizing Cyber Task Force (CTF)
state and local officers.
CTFs
The OWS Initiative was launched in August 2013 with the
Salt Lake City CTF, in partnership with the Utah
Department of Public Safety. Since then, OWS has
expanded to 13 field offices: Albany, Buffalo, Kansas
City, Knoxville, Las Vegas, New York City, New Orleans,
Oklahoma City, Omaha–Des Moines, Phoenix,
Richmond, Salt Lake City, and San Diego.
Total OWS Opened Investigations
The IC3 receives, on average, 800 complaints per day,
and OWS offers CTFs a consistent resource to identify
Internet fraud subjects and victims located throughout
the world. As a result of OWS, 27 investigations were
opened in 2017. Accomplishments included arrests,
disruptions, convictions, indictments, and asset
forfeitures. In addition, financial restitutions were
obtained and criminals were sentenced.
Victim Complaints
The IC3 provided 289 referrals to 13 CTFs based on 1,867
victim complaints. The total victim loss associated with
these complaints was approximately $15.7 million.
OWS Statistics 6
6
Accessibility description: images containing the number of Field Offices (13) involved with the OWS initiative,
the number of opened investigations (27), and the number of victims (1,867).
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2017 Internet Crime Report
OWS Success Stories
Multiple victims reported on www.IC3.gov that they had been defrauded by
the same subject over the internet. The victims shipped high end clothing
and jewelry to the subject without receiving the agreed compensation. The
subject broke off all communication after receiving the products. The Deputy District Attorney
from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech
Response Team (CATCH) agreed to handle the case at the state level. The investigation
included the execution of a physical search warrant and arrest at the suspect’s home by
members of the FBI San Diego CTF and members of the San Diego District Attorney’s CATCH
team. As a result of the search and arrest, investigators recovered stolen property and
obtained a recorded interview in which the suspect admitted to the theft. The San Diego
Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) was also used to analyze devices seized during
the search warrant providing additional evidence for the case. The cooperative effort between
IC3, the San Diego District Attorney’s CATCH team, the San Diego RCFL and FBI San Diego CTF
resulted in a theft conviction and the return of stolen property.
SAN DIEGO
This case involved the employee theft of approximately $25,000 worth of
merchandise from a San Diego-based electronics internet retailer and the
SAN DIEGO
coordinated sale of the stolen items on a co-conspirator’s auction website. A
component of this case included an internet return fraud scheme in which the subjects
purchased items from an online seller and later returned less valuable products for a refund.
Working with the OWS Task Force, the Deputy District Attorney from the San Diego County
District Attorney’s CATCH agreed to handle the case at the state level. Analysis of search
warrant returns showed the sale of the stolen items and the division of the proceeds between
the two subjects. Both subjects admitted to the crimes during recorded interviews and were
later arrested. Both subjects pled guilty to felony charges and were required to pay restitution
to the victim.
In the spring of 2016, Brandon Douglas Shanahan began impersonating a
former, well-known University of Tennessee football player to extort and
threaten multiple female victims. Utilizing a username posing as the player,
Shanahan would threaten bodily harm and demand inappropriate photographs. Multiple
victims were identified with similar reports of harassment during the investigation and
through IC3 complaints. In June 2016, Shanahan was arrested and activities disrupted.
Shanahan knowingly transmitted in interstate and foreign commerce with intent to extort
money and other things of value. In December 2016, Shanahan entered a guilty plea on the
count of interstate communications with the intent to extort. Shanahan broke his bond
agreement, was re-arrested, and pled guilty to an additional count. Shanahan was sentenced
to 30 months in a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Facility, followed by a one-year probation.
KNOXVILLE
10
Internet Crime Complaint Center
Multiple victims reported to the IC3 that they had not received vehicles
purchased and paid for via the internet. The IC3 aggregated the complaints,
KNOXVILLE
conducted independent research, and provided the information to the FBI
Knoxville CTF. The resulting investigation determined Irvin Cachu-Melo and Luis Javier
Martinez-Melo were operating as “money mules” in an on-going wire fraud scam involving the
fraudulent sales of automobiles. Cachu-Melo and Martinez-Melo used stolen identit …
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