Internet Crime Cost Americans $1.4 Billion in 2017

May 10, 2018 by Paul Ausick

Earlier this week, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued its 2017 Internet Crime Report based on data from the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The center logged more than 300,000 complaints in 2017 with reported losses of more than $1.4 billion.

Over the past five years, the agency has received more than 1.42 million complaints reporting losses totaling $5.52 billion. Since 2000 when the IC3 was established, it has received more than 4 million complaints.

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 $676 million in losses and 15,690 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 15,372 complaints and cost Americans more than $211 million last year.

By number of victims affected, the most common type of internet crime is non-payment/non-delivery related to auction websites. More than 84,000 Americans were victimized and they lost a total of $141 million, the third-highest amount of any internet crime type.

The top five states based on victim counts were:

  1. California: 41,974
  2. Florida: 21,887
  3. Texas: 21,852
  4. New York: 17,622
  5. Pennsylvania: 11.348

Based on loss values, the top five states were:

  1. California: $214.2 million
  2. Texas: $115.7 million
  3. Florida: $110.6 million
  4. New York: $88.6 million
  5. Arizona: $59.4 million

Americans over the age of 60 were the most frequent victims (nearly 50,000) and suffered the greatest total losses ($342.5 billion). Loss totals increased by age group, but the second highest total number of victims came in the 30-to-39 age group (45,458).

Ransomware attacks actually declined in 2017, according to the FBI data, from 2,673 complaints in 2016 to 1,783 last year. Victims of ransomware lost more than $2.3 million last year, versus $2.4 million in 2016. Partly that’s due to an overall decline in ransomware attacks as internet criminals have found other simpler and more lucrative ways to defraud internet users.

Additional details can be found in the FBI’s IC3 report.

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