Americans lost a record $3.5bn to cybercrime in 2021 YTD

Edward G. | December 02, 2021

The wave of cybercrime is plowing throughout America with the biggest damages in history. 

Atlas VPN extracted data from publicly available government sources and found that US citizens already lost $3.49 billion to cybercrime in the first three quarters of 2021. You don’t need to bring out the calculator - the damages come out to $12.78 million per day.

Cybercriminals are using the buzz around cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the metaverse to trick people into investing in bogus projects that disappear after raising a hefty sum of money. 

The data for the analysis is based on reports submitted through the official Federal Trade Commission websites - and Citizens can get help by receiving personal identity theft recovery plans.

Regarding monetary damages - the FTC does not resolve the allegations, but it does disseminate the information to over 3,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States for further investigation.

The analysis reveals that cybercrime damages sky-rocketed by 82.91% in 2021 compared to last year. To be exact, people lost $1.58 billion more (yes, billion) this year than they did in the same period in 2020. 

These losses are a result of 1.6 million unique fraud and identity theft reports submitted to the Federal Trade Commission websites mentioned previously.  This means that the FTC has to deal with around 5,869 complaints every single day.

Last year, the number of reports stood at 1.09 million after the first three quarters of the year, which is around a third less than in 2021. Back then, they had to go through 3,981 complaints daily. 

Taking a step back, the average increase in monetary damages hovers at around 59.85% YoY since 2017. This year is not only a record year in terms of dollars lost, but also in terms of how much it increased compared to last year, which is, once again, 82.91%.

Most damaging types of cybercrime

To better understand the current cybercrime landscape, we will analyze which crimes caused the most trouble.

We already noted that investment-related crimes are on the rise due to countless projects in the crypto, NFT, and metaverse markets. This year, US citizens lost a staggering $956 million to these types of scams, representing a 277.87% growth YoY. 

Of course, investment scams are not happening strictly in the above-mentioned industries. Yet, these markets are the main perpetrators behind the huge growth.

Unsurprisingly, imposter scams are still at the top of the list. In 2020, imposter fraud swindled $838 million out of unsuspecting victims, while in 2021, damages jumped by 92.24% to $1.61 billion.

Here, criminals pretend to be a well-known brand to empty the pockets of their victims. It can still be crypto-related, but fraudsters prefer to target older people which is why they tend to represent brands like Chase Bank, Microsoft, and others alike.

Among the top reports, we also see online shopping scams which tricked people into sending 295 million dollars directly into the pockets of cybercriminals. Online shopping fraud is also becoming substantially more popular since losses to these types of scams have inflated by 77.71% since last year. 

Unfortunately, people are still falling for prize and lottery scams. Have you ever seen any of these? A huge pop-up claiming that you won a brand new MacBook Pro, all you have to do is enter your credit card details to pay for shipping, and it’s yours! 

Luckily, email scams concerning the well-known Nigerian Prince who just needs your help to get back his riches are not on the list. 

We would like to end the report by encouraging readers to stay vigilant in the rapidly-evolving digital world.

For those who are interested in learning more about the current cybercrime landscape, check out our page, which contains Cybercrime Statistics

Edward G.

Edward G.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. My mission is to scan the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape to inform the public about the latest threats.



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