In our digital era, more people have access to the internet than ever before. This has many advantages—it means that people around the world can communicate with each other more quickly than ever, sharing their experiences and ideas. However, the age of the internet comes with disadvantages as well: Cybercrime, for example, is at a peak.
Internet crimes cause devastating financial loss
Recently, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) analyzed seventeen years of data regarding internet crime. According to IC3, the center received over 4 million complaints from victims of internet crime between 2000 and 2017. Using this data, researchers determined the five types of cybercrime that caused the most financial damage in the United States. The five categories of cybercrime that caused the most financial loss are:
- Business email compromise, -$676,151,185
- Confidence/romance fraud, -$211,382,989
- Non-payment and non-delivery, -$141,110,441
- Investment fraud, -$96,844,144
- Personal data breach, -$77,134,865
Catching and prosecuting cybercrime is difficult
Despite the prevalence and significant financial wreckage of cybercrime, prosecuting these crimes remains difficult. Technology evolves so quickly that law enforcement agencies cannot always keep up, and many cybercrimes do not have enough evidence to prosecute in court.
However, as online crime continues to grow, state and federal agencies are taking extensive measures to catch, prosecute and make examples of perpetrators. Internet crime is taken very seriously, and can have harsh criminal penalties. These may include fees and community service, or they may involve prison time. Cybercriminals who do not manage to outwit the justice system will have to take every measure available to avoid these consequences.