Americans projected to lose over $5 billion to internet crime in 2021

Ruth C. | May 26, 2021

Cybercriminals in America are getting richer. According to the Atlas VPN team’s analysis, Americans are estimated to lose $5.6 billion to internet crime by the end of 2021. 

Cybercrime losses are expected to grow by nearly a third (32%) in 2021 from 4.2 billion in 2020. Compared to 2012, when cybercrime losses were 525.4 million, they are predicted to grow more than tenfold and reach record levels.    

The average growth rate of internet crime losses in the US was estimated based on historical data from 2012 to 2020 provided by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (via Statista). 

By the end of this year, Americans will have lost 22.1 billion to cybercriminals since 2012. That’s about as much as the annual revenue of the world's leading media streaming platform, Netflix.

Over the past 9 years, cybercrime losses have been rising every year. That is, with the exception of 2017, when losses to internet crime in the US dropped for the first time, by nearly 7%.

Why losses to internet crime are rising

One of the main factors affecting the rise in cybercrime losses is the growing number of internet users in the United States. The more people spend their time online, the more potential targets cybercriminals have.

In 2020, there were 284.05 million internet users in the US, which is about 86% of the country's population. According to Statista's projections the number of internet users in the US will increase by over 1% to 286.98 million in 2021. Therefore, a higher number of potential victims is expected.

Another major reason for the continued growth in internet crime losses is the constantly evolving cyber threats. Cybercriminals are always shifting their tactics and techniques to make them more effective, and as a result, cyber threats are becoming more challenging to detect.

The past two years in particular have been very favorable for cybercriminals. The global Covid-19 pandemic sent the world into a panic, and criminals quickly used this situation to their advantage. They launched various Covid-related attacks and scams to lure out money from both ordinary consumers and organizations. 

Due to Covid, businesses were forced to switch to remote work. Unfortunately, this change made them more vulnerable to cyber threats as many companies were not fully prepared for the change.

The Covid-19 pandemic also impacted the country’s economic situation. As a result, many businesses have been forced to cut their budgets, with some sacrificing their cybersecurity budgets.

As cybercrime techniques become more sophisticated, it is imperative for internet users to educate themselves about cyber threats and take the necessary precautions.

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