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While generalizations are rarely true, there is one that holds up pretty well: People tend to believe (and take comfort in the idea) that different kinds of crime could never happen to them—notably cybercrime. They're too smart, too careful, and too tech savvy.
But, of course, the truth is more complicated than that.
A 2021 study by the Federal Trade Commission found less than 5% of mass-market consumer fraud victims report their experiences to either the Better Business Bureau or a government agency. This study also described an interesting variation in the inclination of victims of various forms of fraud to report malfeasance in any way.
For example, while 58% of people duped into purchasing a product or service that was never delivered registered a complaint to the vendor, less than 20% of victims of fraudulent credit card insurance or computer repair logged complaints. And overall, only 12% of victims of any form of digital fraud complained to their credit card company, bank, or other financial service provider, despite the protections such institutions provide their clientele.
One could speculate that embarrassment keeps many people from seeking justice, or perhaps they assume filing a complaint won't get them anywhere. Age is most certainly a factor. Older Americans lose more money overall from cyber scams than younger age groups, though those younger age groups experience a higher total volume of cybercrimes—meaning that while it costs older folks more cash, there are more young victims than old.
While age is one of the easiest ways to categorize and reduce fraud, especially cybercrime, there are nonetheless valid (and quite alarming) variations in instances of cybercrime that can be qualified by looking at the issue through the lens of age. Twingate collected and analyzed information from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel to understand how online crime differed between age groups in 2021.
The FBI receives an average of 2,300 complaints per day about online crime, and the bureau estimates there was almost $7 billion lost to it in 2021 alone. No small potatoes. How it breaks down among the population's generations provides key insights into how cybercrime affects every American.