Internet Crime Cost Americans $1.3 Billion in 2016

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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last week issued its 2016 Internet Crime Report based on data from the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The center logged nearly 300,000 complaints in 2016 with reported losses of more than $1.3 billion.

Over the past five years, the agency has received more than 1.4 million complaints reporting losses totaling $4.63 billion. That’s actually the good news. The FBI estimates that just 15% of U.S. internet fraud victims each year report the crimes.

The most costly types of internet crime are categorized as business email compromise and email account compromise (BEC/EAC), which together accounted for more than $360 million in losses and 12,000 complaints last year. BEC/EAC scams target businesses working with foreign suppliers or those that regularly move money by means of wire transfers.

The second-most costly type of fraud is confidence or romantic fraud, which resulted in more than 14,000 complaints and cost Americans about $220 million last year. We wrote about romantic fraud earlier this year.

The top five states based on victim counts were:

  1. California: 39,547
  2. Texas: 21,441
  3. Florida: 21,068
  4. New York: 16,426
  5. Illinois: 9,177

Based on loss values, the top five states were:

  1. California: $255.2 million
  2. New York: $106.2 million
  3. Florida: $88.8 million
  4. Texas: $77.1 million
  5. Virginia: $49.2 million

Americans over the age of 60 were the most frequent victims (more than 55,000) and suffered the greatest total losses ($339.5 billion). Loss totals increased by age group, but the second highest total number of victims came in the 30 to 39 age group (54,670).

Additional details can be found in the FBI report and state-by-state reports.