Cyber Crime Is Big Business

With our increasingly Internet-connected world, people put themselves at risk in new ways each and every day. From paying bills online to sending personal data in something as innocuous as an email to a friend – that information is not as secure as it once was. As fast as tech-savvy individuals develop security protocols, there are other tech-savvy individuals, just as quickly, figuring out ways to circumvent them.

A recent news item highlighted cyber crime stats published by the FBI. In 2013, cyber crime reported to the FBI totaled losses of more than $781 million. Based on the number of individuals involved, this averaged to a loss of nearly $3,000 per complaint.

But, how does that number break down?

While they don’t account for the entire total, there are several types of Internet crime that were more common than others. For example:

  • $81 million was taken scams centering on online dating site. “Romance scams,” as they were called, averaged more than $12,000 per victim.
  • $51 million was taken in retail-based scams, namely individuals selling cars that didn’t really exist. These averaged out to be $3,600 per victim.
  • $18 million was taken in real estate scams similar to the auto scams – individuals were convinced to rent property that did not exist for an average of $1,800 per victim.
  • $6 million in government-centered scams. Individuals might present themselves as a government official to intimidate and extort money from people online. These scams averaged nearly $700 per victim.

In 2014, Internet crimes accounted for nearly $1 billion dollars. Each year, there seems to be more methods developed to counteract security and more strategies employed to defeat protection. When using the Internet, be mindful of the information you are sharing and be cautious about sharing too much.