States most affected by cybercrime
Cybercrime is a massive global industry, reaching $3.5 billion in damages from reported incidents in 2019. To uncover the states most affected by cybercrime, Safety.com consulted the 2019 FBI Internet Crime Report. The report provides statistics for every state regarding the number of victims, number of cybercriminals, total losses, and total earnings by cybercriminals. States were ranked by total monetary losses as a result of cybercrime.
To supplement that information, Safety.com has included details about internet access in each state and state computer crime laws. Social engineering is one of the leading forms of information theft that causes financial damages, and the perpetrators only have to call and pretend to be from a tech support team. People are vulnerable to these social attacks the same way they’re liable to fall for phishing or redirection attacks.
The laws vary a great deal on a state-by-state basis, so if you believe you’ve been a victim of cybercrime, check with an attorney in your local area—this list should not be considered legal advice; and the statistics and descriptions of laws here are meant only to inform. Because of the nature of the internet and its involvement in these crimes, the FBI also offers services for any cybercrime that crosses state lines.
Who’s most vulnerable to cybercrime? This is a harder question to answer beyond very broad generalities. One major factor of cybercrime is that people create flimsy passwords because they fear they won’t remember something more secure. Now, software such as password managers can help people close the loop on creating more secure passwords they don’t then need to write down on a note pad next to their computer. The brief discomfort of figuring out a new technology is nothing compared to the discomfort and hassle of losing access to accounts, having to cancel everything, or filing a report with the authorities.
- Total losses: $2,329,973
- Losses per victim: $4,660 (500 total victims; #49 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $686,424 (#51 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 131 (#51 in the country)
Sen. Bernie Sanders represents a very relaxed and rural state with the lowest overall amount of cybercrime in the United States. That’s in line with Vermont’s overall low crime rate. Size plays a part in frequency of cybercrime, since it can be initiated from and target places almost anywhere in the world.
#50. South Dakota
- Total losses: $3,086,846
- Losses per victim: $6,526 (473 total victims; #51 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $975,629 (#50 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 133 (#50 in the country)
Relatively rural, low-population South Dakota has made the news over Mount Rushmore this year—fire regulations are more of a concern. Much of the state is covered by state or national parks, where penalties for crimes might be even more severe.
- Total losses: $3,267,370
- Losses per victim: $3,713 (880 total victims; #47 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $1,656,784 (#46 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 312 (#44 in the country)
Coastal Maine has a low population that’s pretty insulated from the rest of the United States, with neutral or moderate politics and a lot of industry and commercial fishing. Incidence of cybercrime is low, but the state has strong laws about “criminal invasion of computer privacy.”
#48. North Dakota
- Total losses: $4,527,733
- Losses per victim: $9,259 (489 total victims; #50 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $1,452,038 (#48 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 377 (#43 in the country)
North Dakota is one of the least populous states, so even with low losses to cybercrime, the per person number is nearly $10,000. In North Dakota, computer crime and computer fraud are handled separately.
#47. West Virginia
- Total losses: $5,442,899
- Losses per victim: $4,436 (1,227 total victims; #42 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $2,754,324 (#40 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 262 (#46 in the country)
The West Virginia Computer Crime and Abuse Act comprehensively deals with a dozen or more kinds of cybercrime, which is still quite low. West Virginians may be savvy, because the state’s struggling industrial economy has worked to attract high tech businesses and population hubs.
- Total losses: $6,105,401
- Losses per victim: $5,749 (1,062 total victims; #44 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $2,548,620 (#42 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 948 (#29 in the country)
Delaware is one of the smallest states in size, making it a hard target to hit when there are much larger markets elsewhere—someone conducting a phishing scheme isn’t usually worried about the origin of the email addresses. But the number of cybercriminals is much higher, breaking its rank into the 20s.
#45. New Hampshire
- Total losses: $7,284,552
- Losses per victim: $6,307 (1,155 total victims; #43 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $3,520,598 (#37 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 264 (#45 in the country)
Tiny New Hampshire thrives on political independence and policies such as no sales tax—its number of cybercrime laws is pretty low as a consequence. Fortunately, the state’s number of cybercriminals is fairly low anyway.
- Total losses: $8,138,463
- Losses per victim: $14,797 (550 total victims; #48 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $1,547,198 (#47 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 175 (#49 in the country)
Wyoming is the least populous U.S. state, with small cities and huge stretches of arid land and mountains. People in rural communities are still some of the last to receive the latest and best internet speeds, for example. The loss per victim, at nearly $15,000, is very high for such a low population.
- Total losses: $8,295,010
- Losses per victim: $8,578 (967 total victims; #46 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $3,235,197 (#38 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 832 (#35 in the country)
Montana has a huge area with a low population, with the same kinds of internet access factors that might influence folks who might otherwise give cybercrime a try—it’s hard to send mass emails or hack when the connection speed isn’t fast. Montana cybercriminals must be of sound mind and intend to commit a crime in order to be convicted, with losses of more than $1,000 tipping over into felony charges.
- Total losses: $9,654,238
- Losses per victim: $6,654 (1,451 total victims; #38 in the country)
- Total earnings by cybercriminals: $1,431,485 (#49 in the country)
- Total cybercriminals: 222 (#48 in the country)
In Alaska, there are no misdemeanor computer crimes—all are felonies. Because Alaska is gigantic and so far from the Lower 48, it’s often the last to receive new telecommunication advances, and by some metrics is last in the nation for broadband access.2018 All rights reserved.