Criminals netted $3.5bn (£2.7bn) from cyber-crimes reported to the FBI alone in 2019, according to the service’s internet crime complaint centre (IC3).

It received 467,361 complaints from individuals and businesses during the year and has had nearly five million since its inception in 2000.

Phishing and extortion remain the most popular ways of scamming people.

It says techniques are becoming more sophisticated, making it harder for people to tell “real from fake”.

This is especially true of web and email addresses that are fooling people because they look increasingly legitimate.

Last year IC3 had 13,633 complaints from victims of so-called tech-support fraud, which involves a scammer phoning an individual and claiming there is a problem with their computer that needs immediate fixing.

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