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How many people are victims of internet fraud yearly?

The latest release of internet crime data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has shown that victims lost in excess of $1.3 billion in 2017 as a result of internet crimes.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) displayed data showing that the costs could be spread among at least 10 different internet crimes. Some included real estate or rental crimes, credit card fraud and nondelivery or nonpayment fraud. Each of these cost victims millions of dollars in 2017 in total.

Between 2000 and 2017, the IC3 has received over four million complaints from victims of internet crimes. The organization breaks down the data for investigation, passing it on to the law enforcement agencies best able to handle the cases.

In 2017, there were over 300,000 complaints of internet crimes. The most commonly reported crimes were phishing scams, personal data breaches and nonpayment or nondelivery.

What's interesting about nonpayment or nondelivery crimes is that these aren't always intentional and can catch an average consumer off guard. Imagine purchasing an item on eBay, for instance, and forgetting to pay for it. You could be accused of nonpayment. Likewise, if you buy an item and never receive it, the person who was supposed to sell it to you could be accused of nondelivery of an item. In both scenarios, there's a risk of facing penalties for internet crime involvement.

With so much to lose, it's vital that those who face accusations of internet crimes protect themselves. They should be prepared to defend any actions they're accused of committing, so they have a good chance of walking away without penalties.

Source: FBI News, "Latest Internet Crime Report Released," accessed June 01, 2018

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