FBI stats reveal Nevada and North Dakota are top states for cybercrime
A new analysis of data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reveals that Nevada has more victims of cybercrime than any state in the Union by a wide margin – 801 per 100,000 internet users, four times more than the national average.
Analysis by Surfshark, a Lithuania-based privacy tools developer, noted that the most common cybercrime committed in Nevada is identity theft, which may be due to the fact that it is home to Las Vegas.
“With Nevada, it’s easy to assume identity thieves are targeting tourists there who are gambling,” Mike Parkin, senior technical engineer at Vulcan Cyber, a SaaS provider for cyber remediation, told TechNewsWorld. business risks in Tel Aviv, Israel.
In 2021, Surfshark analysts noted, there were 9,054 identity theft victims in Nevada, or 49% of all cybercrime victims.
Iowa (342), Alaska (322) and Florida (293) are other states with high rates of cybercrime victims per 100,000 internet users.
“These statistics from the FBI’s IC3 division help paint a broad picture of identity crimes reported each year in the United States,” James E. Lee, Chief Operating Officer of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) explained to San Diego.
“When you add the more than 1.4 million identity theft reports filed with the FTC in 2021, the 15,000 identity crime victims who contacted the ITRC in 2021, and the 190 million victims of data breaches tracked by the ITRC in 2021, you’re starting to see the enormity of the problem represented by identity crimes,” Lee told TechNewsWorld.
“The bottom line is this: There are more identity crimes reported each year in the United States than all other crimes combined, except theft,” he added. “And the volume and speed of identity crimes continue to rise along with their financial impact.”
Nevada is also a hotbed for cybercriminals, with 150 cybercrime perpetrators per 100,000 internet users, nearly three times the national average, analysts said.
They explained that while threat actors outside the United States commit many cybercrimes, the FBI has identified a significant number of cybercriminals within US borders. In most cases, the FBI can identify the specific state where a cybercriminal is located, allowing them to see which states have the most cybercrime perpetrators per capita.
Only two other states reached three figures in perps per 100,000 Internet users: Delaware (120) and Maryland (113).
“It’s interesting that Nevada has both the highest number of victims and the highest number of perpetrators, while Nevada’s victims rank in the bottom three in casualties,” Parkin observed.
According to analysts, the average victim of a cybercrime in Nevada loses $4,728 per scam, while scammers in West Virginia average $4,280 per scam and in Iowa $3,820.
“Without further analysis, it’s hard to say why the numbers are playing this way,” Parkin continued, “although Nevada is unique in terms of demographics, local culture and major industries, all of which could play a role.”
Badlands Bad Men
“Cybercrimes are a growing concern in Nevada and across the country,” said John T. Sandler, spokesman for Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford.
“Our office has run extensive campaigns aimed at educating Nevadans about the many ways scammers like to target residents in their daily lives,” Sandler told TechNewsWorld. “These include phishing, romance, seduction, gift cards, vacation and government scams.”
“AG Ford also joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general who are urging the FTC to pass a nationwide rule targeting impersonation scams,” he added.
While losses to cybercrime victims in Nevada are among the lowest, losses in North Dakota are the highest at $31,711 per scam.
Studies have shown that the two age groups most vulnerable to cybercrime are young people under 25 and people aged 75 and over, analysts noted. They estimated that 41% of North Dakota’s population fell into these age groups could contribute to this high figure of loss.
Parkin, however, pointed out that North Dakota’s small population of 774,948 could influence the statistics in the analysis.
Although the top-grossing cybercrimes nationwide are email money transfers and bogus investment plans, that’s not the case in North Dakota, where 50% of all money lost to cybercrime – $12.1 million – is lost to bandits pretending to be friends or family, or in online romantic relationships.
New York ($19,266), South Dakota ($19,065), and California ($18,302) are other states with high per capita losses due to cybercrime.
The most targeted seniors
Analysts also revealed that the average cyber thief clears $14,048 per scam, but that too can fluctuate widely from state to state, with Colorado ($33,605), Louisiana ($31,064), New York ($29,919) and Wyoming ($27,918) among the highest. Among the lowest were West Virginia ($2,630), Nebraska ($4,148), Montana ($4,327) and Connecticut ($4,394).
In states where perpetrators steal the most, cybercriminals are likely targeting small and medium-sized businesses with financial capital, analysts noted.
They added that the most profitable cybercrimes in New York were investment scams, which accounted for 34% of all money lost to cybercrime in 2021. In comparison, investment scams accounted for only 19% of all money defrauded through cybercrime in 2021 nationwide.
The age group most victimized by cybercrime is the elderly, analysts noted. In 2021, 92,371 Americans age 60 and older were defrauded of $1.7 billion.
While older people have lost the most to cybercrime, analysts continued, other age groups have been disproportionately victimized. For example, people between the ages of 40 and 49 represent only 12.4% of the population, but 20.8% of all cybercrime victims in the United States. The other side of the coin is that people under 20 represent 24.8% of the population but only 3.5% of victims of cybercrime.
There are also variations by state, the analysts added. In 16 states, for example, the most commonly targeted age group was 59 and under, and in Iowa, the most targeted age group was 20 to 29.
“From the perspective of who can I steal from,” Parkin said, “kids and older people are probably easier targets than people aged 40 to 49, but they probably have fewer resources to target. “
He added that state-by-state cybercrime analysis can be helpful to crime fighters. “Understanding victim and target demographics can be used to develop specific techniques to help defend against attacks,” he said. “It can also help understand why attacks are more or less effective in different regions.”