Today we’re taking a look through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) “Internet Crime Report” for the year 2018. This document shows statistics on crimes reported to the FBI, as well as total crimes committed on the internet in the calendar year 2018. This year saw nearly twice the amount of estimated total financial loss through the year VS 2017, easily the biggest jump since tracking these statistics began.
According to the IC3, total losses due to internet crime in 2018 were approximately $2.7 BILLION dollars. In the year 2017 the total was approximately $1.42 billion, While the 2016 total was around $1.45 billion. Losses in 2015 broke the $1 billion mark for the first time in recorded history, while 2014 saw around $800 million in losses.
The amount of complaints received by the IC3 over this last half-decade of reporting seems to be going up rather slowly – but certainly not dropping off at any point. While losses mount quick, reports went from 269k (thousand) in 2014 to 288k in 2015. In 2016 there were approximately 299k complaints made to the IC3, up to 302k in 2017 and 352k in 2018.
It might just be that people don’t know to call the FBI’s IC3 when they’re the victim of internet theft. It might also be that a shocking number of people don’t know that they’ve been the victim of internet crime. The latter option tracks with findings throughout the report.
Many modern scams still use email
The “Payroll Diversion” scam is a good example of how victims have little or no idea they’ve been the victim of a crime until it’s far too late. The IC3 received just 100 calls about this specific scam in 2018, but losses racked up to an estimated $100 million USD.
Payroll Diversion starts with phishing emails, grabbing employee login information from uninformed and/or easily fooled employees. The scammer uses said login info to redirect payroll from one direct deposit location to another, sending earnings to a separate account. This scam apparently works best with employees in education, healthcare, and commercial airway transportation.
So, yes, email scams are still a thing. Email scams still fool hundreds of thousands of people each year. If the IC3’s estimates are correct, Business Email Compromise losses in 2018 racked up over $1.2 billion.
You can be the victim of an internet crime no matter your age. According to this report, you’re more likely to be a victim of an internet crime the older you get – Except for the statistically insignificantly slightly-less-likely victimization period of ages 50-59.
You’ll notice that the count drops off significantly below 20 – very likely because of the age requirements for certain privileges here in the United States. You’re not likely going to be scammed out of the money you don’t have – and you’re not likely set to complain to the FBI if you’re too young to know its internet crime complaint department exists.
Top States Ranked
Inside the United States, California is (unsurprisingly, due to its size) the most victim-filled state of the year 2018. After that it’s Texas and Florida, followed by NY, PA, VA, IL, and WA. Colorado and Georgia had between 4,000-9,999 victims in 2018, and all other states had fewer.
Above you’ll see the top states by amount of complaints made to the IC3. Below you’ll see the top states by estimated total monetary loss as a result of internet crime.
The top states by monetary loss are, in order, California, Texas, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Each of the top 5 states on that list lost over $100 million in 2018.
Notice how North Carolina isn’t in the top 10 states by amount of victims, but it’s pretty high up the list for amount of cash lost. That means people are very effectively losing money-per-person there, or they’re just too slow on the uptake… Or some third, less exciting option, like the FBI being less effective about connecting with local law enforcement in NC, thereby leaving the citizens of NC more likely to find themselves the victim of an internet crime.
More fancy ranking action for 2018
Below you’ll see a set of additional statistics on 2018 Internet Crime. These bits and pieces show breakdowns of the top states, different crime types, and amounts of losses. Notice the appearance of Virtual Currency multiple times – right alongside Social Media.
Also notice how the IC3 uses some of the most outdated e-graphics in the entire world. There’s code from The Matrix* on their report cover! *Actually more like pseudo-Matrix, since it’s not the actual Matrix code, it’s just 10101 binary. Look at all that Internet!
Despite the relative lack of graphic design finesse the IC3 exhibits here, they actually do bring the ban hammer to internet criminals aplenty, all year long. To launch a complaint about some internet crime you’ve experienced, head over to the FBI IC3 complaint page right this minute!