This research from Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Forensic Accounting is the result of compiling FBI internet crime statistics over multiple years. This research includes fraud committed online through the internet on individuals and businesses. It shows trends in types of internet crime and U.S. states with the highest reported victim losses and number of victims. This information can be used for public awareness and by government for law enforcement and policy making.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2000 to receive internet crime complaints from the public. Once someone files a complaint, FBI classifies it into a crime type so that data can be sorted and disseminated to law enforcement agencies and the public. Every year, FBI’s IC3 publishes general data with victim numbers and loss amounts for each internet crime type. Separately, IC3 publishes annual data for each of the U.S. states and territories.
Over the years, FBI data show some internet crimes persist and others have disappeared. Yet, new and more sophisticated types of crimes have occurred recently. Our research shows online crime trends for top U.S. states having higher internet crime activity (including Florida). We identify top states as having the largest victim monetary losses and number of victims.
Internet Crime in Florida by Victim Age from 2016 through 2019
We analyze FBI internet crime data on victim monetary losses by age group in Florida from 2016 through 2019. FBI reports data on victim losses and number of victims by age group (in years): under 20, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and over 60. Some victims do not provide their age and, their information is not reported in this analysis. From the FBI data for Florida, we examine the growth in online victim losses and number of victims in each age group across these years.
Overall, Floridians have experienced sharp increases in monetary losses from online crime since 2016. Some age groups suffered more than others. Across all age groups, total victim losses of Floridians from all internet crimes increased 166% since 2016, from $80 million in 2016 to $213 million in 2019. The largest growth of monetary losses occurred in 2018 at 78%. In 2019, victim losses grew 41%.
The youngest and oldest Floridians have experienced the highest growth rate in online victim losses since 2016. Monetary losses of Floridians over 60 years of age increased 405%, from $23 million in 2016 to $114 million in 2019. The under-20 age group experienced the second-largest growth in victim losses of 313% from 2016 through 2019, from $387,000 to $1.6 million, respectively. These two age groups also experienced the highest victim loss growth during 2019. Losses for the under-20 group grew 300% in 2019 over the previous year as the over-60 group’s losses increased 131%.
Floridians over 60 years of age experienced about one quarter of all victim losses in 2016, similar to victims in the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups. In 2019, however, the over-60 group jumped to over one-half of all victim losses. In contrast, the under-20 group comprised only about 1% of all victim losses in 2019.
The higher proportion of losses by the over-60 group might be from the reported increase in Florida’s overall victim losses in Confidence/Romance fraud and Identity Theft. Confidence/Romance fraud is prominent in Florida likely due to a large retiree population with financial resources that make them a bigger target for fraudsters.
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