The FBI’s Internal Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has just released its annual Internet Crime Report, where it outlines the most recent attack vectors of internet scammers and fraudsters, as well as cybercriminal trends over the past year.
The Report is a comprehensive yet short and to-the-point document in which people can read the IC3’s findings and recommendations. The FBI division notes which groups of people are more likely to fall for these schemes, but the Report is aimed at everyone regardless of age or occupation.
Cybersecurity is a serious issue and crimes of this nature have become increasingly more targeted. This year, the FBI started breaking down the report by states as well to show each of the 50 states their statistics and how to combat potential threats.
2017 IC3 Internet Crime Report: Demographic Highlights
The Internal Crime Complaint Center of the FBI receives 280,000 complaints per year in average, and since its inception in the year 2000, it has received almost 4 million reports.
This year’s investigations show that the trend continued during 2016 but was a little higher, totaling 266,685 victims of Internet crime last year alone. The IC3 separates this population into five age groups to show which has a higher propensity to become a target.
People under 20 were the least affected group, amounting to just over 10,000 victims and nearly $7 million taken from them. Those between 20 and 29, however, saw ten times as many losses at $68 million and 46,300 people scammed approximately.
The group of victims ranging from 30 to 39 year old was the second most affected demographic, with almost 54,500 victims but just $190 million in losses. In contrast, 55,000 people over 60 fell for internet scams and handed over close to $340 million.
A marked trend this year was the fact that losses increased with age. The older the group, the more money they got scammed out of them, as shown by the $224 and $298 million that those in their 40s and 50s got stolen respectively.
IC3 report: Trends and Recommendations
In the U.S., the most vulnerable states were California, New York, and Florida; while Canada topped the list of foreign victims surveyed at 3,722. India, the U.K., Australia, and France also made the top 5.
The internet crimes most committed had non-payment/non-delivery instances in the first place, with more than 81,000 reported incidents in which people were not paid for their services or didn’t receive the product they ordered.
Personal data breaches came second with close to 30,000 incidences, followed by 25,000 accounts of Nigerian 419 scams. These fraudulent requests rely on people wiring money to third parties on behalf of others asking for help because they allegedly cannot do it themselves.
Phishing cases were almost 20,000 in 2016, and extortion, identity theft, and credit card fraud all ranked in the high 10,000s. The most profitable crimes, however, business email compromise (BEC) attacks, making cyber criminals more than $360 million last year.
Confidence fraud schemes placed second on the list for victims’ loss, with close to $220 million spent by people in fake online relationships. Fraudulent investments, corporate data breaches, and cases of identity theft were also highly profitable.
As most cyber security firms would advise, the IC3 recommends users to simply keep their operating systems and antiviruses up to date as a preemptive measure. The government agency also suggested common sense in social media, stronger passwords, and tighter authentication methods.