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Cybercrimes are on the rise, affecting more of the population each year. Resembling an online battle, government agencies like the FBI are working to combat these crimes, finding new ways to take on the savvy online criminals who are destroying people’s credit, as well as their lives.
Some states, however, appear to be more susceptible to cybercrimes than others, although all are affected to some degree. While you can most likely guess a few of those states topping the list, others might surprise you. Knowing if your state sits in the top ten of the states that are mostly affected by cybercrimes can prompt you to take notice and take actions now to protect yourself and especially those who own small businesses.
What are Cybercrimes?
A cybercrime is a computer and network-oriented action which damages another, usually financially. These crimes affect both individuals and companies.
Common Types of Cybercrimes
Six of the most common types of cybercrimes include:
- Phishing: Scams in which a hacker or cybercriminal attempts to lure personal or sensitive information from an individual or company computer user
- Malware: Cybercrime involving malicious software creating viruses, worms, and spyware on a computer
- Identify theft: Accessing personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers, and using them fraudulently (both for credit and debit fraud)
- Online harassment
- Invasion of privacy
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Top Ten States Affected by Cybercrimes
According to the 2019 FBI Internet Crime Report, ten states are at higher risk of cybercrimes. Their report compiles statistics, including:
- Number of cybercrime victims (based on the number of complaints)
- Total monetary losses in the state
- Number of cybercriminals
- Total earnings by the identified cybercriminals
This list of top ten states mostly affected by cybercrimes is ranked according to total monetary losses resulting from cybercrimes alone, not on the number of victims reporting these crimes.
Total Losses: $573,624,151
Residents of California report more cybercrimes than in any other state. This is likely due to the large population and number of businesses. The total number of cybercriminals identified in the state in 2019 was 17,517. There were 50,1323 victims, with losses of on average $11,442 each.
Total Losses: $293,445,963
Florida is known for its high number of senior citizens residing in the state, and this may partially explain why it ranks so high up on this list. The total number of identified cybercriminals is 11,047, with 27,178 victims suffering losses of around $10,797 each
Total Losses: $264,663,456
A surprise at #3 is Ohio, a state with only average internet access and an overall lower median household income. Yet, with just under 10,000 victims, losses soar to $28,000 on average for each one. Reportedly 2,508 cybercriminals milked almost $15,000,000 out of victims here in 2019.
Total Losses: $221,535,479
As the second-largest state in the country, Texas resident population is huge, so you have more opportunities for cybercrimes based on the sheer number of people. The total number of identified cybercriminals in the state comes in at just over 10,000, with earnings over $126 million.
Total Losses: $198,765,769
While New York is full of companies and a dense population, its total losses from cybercrimes, just under $200 million, put it in fifth place.
Total Losses: $107,152,415
Home to several major companies, including industrial complexes and large state universities, Illinois has one of the country’s best broadband access levels. Because of this, it has become a target of cybercriminals. Total losses to cybercrime in the state in 2019 equaled $107,152,415, with over 10,000 victims involved.
Total Losses: $106,474,464
With such close proximity to New York, the state of New Jersey holds its own when it comes to the highest median income of its residents. Company headquarters and various businesses are found in the state, leading to high temptation for cybercriminals. Total losses to cybercrime in the state in 2019 topped out at $106,474,464.
Total Losses: $94,281,611
Thanks to its high-speed technology, top universities, and company headquarters, Pennsylvania finds itself in the top ten states affected by cybercrime. Victims here lost on average $8,639 each in 2019.
Total Losses: $92,467,791
Located near Washington, DC, Virginia is densely populated in areas with government workers and contractors. It makes sense, then, that cybercriminals are attracted to this state. Just under 5,000 cybercriminals earned almost $25 million in 2019 alone here.
Total Losses: $84,173,754
With one of the highest median household incomes and full internet coverage across the state, Massachusetts attracts a wide variety of cybercriminals.
So, in what state will you least likely experience a cybercrime? According to the FBI report, Vermont is your best bet.
Ways to Prevent Cybercrimes from Happening to You
Whichever state you live in, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from being a victim of cybercrime.
- Use anti-virus software: allows for regularly scanning, detecting, and removing Cybercrime threats from your computer.
- Update your operating system and other software: keeping everything updated provides the latest security patches for protection.
- Create stronger passwords and change them regularly. Consider keeping track of passwords with a password manager program.
- Avoid opening spam emails and any attachments.
- Decline providing personal information or clicking on suspicious links asking you to confirm or update personal information, including passwords.
- Beware of non-legitimate websites and odd-looking URLs.
State laws differ when it comes to cybercrimes, so you may want to gain knowledge on your rights within your particular state. For example, the states of Florida and New Jersey have in-depth laws with detailed factors and classifications for felonies and misdemeanors. When cybercrimes cross state lines, the FBI can be involved as well.
Cybercrime led to $3.5 billion in overall damages throughout the states in 2019. Even with the passing of more legislation and detailed state laws, the number of crimes is expected to continue to rise. The best thing all state residents can do to help is to be aware of cybercriminals’ motives and do what they can to protect themselves and their businesses.
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