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SCARS™ Special Report: FBI Report To The U.S. Congress On Scams
On June 9th, 2020 the FBI’s Assistant Direct Calvin Shivers delivered a report to congress on the state of online fraud during the Coronavirus crisis.
Here is that report:
BY: CALVIN A. SHIVERS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS, U.S DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD
BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY, WASHINGTON, D.C.
FOR A HEARING ENTITLED:
“COVID-19 FRAUD: LAW ENFORCEMENT’S RESPONSE TO THOSE EXPLOITING THE PANDEMIC.”
JUNE 9, 2020
Chairman, Ranking Member, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the rapidly evolving threats to the United States homeland posed by the myriad of fraud schemes which seek to exploit the global COVID-19 pandemic. The FBI has worked to counter the threats posed by fraud schemes and illicit finance activities since its inception—these threats are pervasive and have become more frequent and sophisticated over time. Moreover, they adversely affect the United States by destabilizing our financial system and institutions and harming people at higher risk (including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions).
On March 16, 2020, the Attorney General issued a memorandum on fraud in connection with COVID-19. Within days, the FBI established a COVID-19 Working Group comprised of representatives from all 56 FBI field offices and 500 total participants from the Department of Justice (Department) and FBI to combat the criminals undermining our nation during this crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to increase the number of stimulus, healthcare, bank, elder, and government fraud schemes. As of May 28, 2020, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received nearly the same amount of complaints in 2020 (~320,000) as they had for the entirety of 2019 (~400,000). Approximately 75% of these complaints are frauds and swindles, presenting a challenge for the FBI’s criminal program given the sheer volume of submissions.
We have also seen the sale of counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE), fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, and even criminals who are engaging in online predatory behavior targeting children who are continuing their education from home. Keeping pace with these threats and their volume is a significant challenge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but one we are tackling head on in conjunction with our many federal, state, local, private sector, non-profit, and community partners.
INCREASED RISK OF CHILD EXPLOITATION
Online sexual exploitation comes in many forms. Individuals may coerce children into providing sexually explicit images or videos of themselves and/or younger family members.
With the threat of posting the images publicly or sending them to the child’s friends and family if the child does not continue sending the material, they are forced into an abusive cycle of exploitation. Other offenders may make casual contact with children online, gain their trust, and introduce sexual conversation that increases in egregiousness over ti