Living in the peak of the “internet age” comes with plenty of perks: getting reminders about your sister’s birthday, Facetiming with your cousin who lives in a different time zone, and having your Chipotle delivered to your door before that episode of the Bachelor ends. However, this new wave of interconnectivity has also generated its fair share of fear and skepticism.
As people depend more and more on digital networks for both their personal and professional lives, scammers have begun exploring new opportunities to exploit internet users. These attacks range in scale from seizing data from massive corporations, to attacks on unsuspecting individuals searching for love on the internet. To find out who is most likely to experience one of these attacks, WorkWise conducted an analysis using recent data about digital attacks. To see the types of scams and where they’re occurring the most, keep on reading.
For business owners, the most costly of these attacks is known as “ransomware”. Ransomware is a kind of malware that is used to exploit victims by threatening to block access to their data, or publish it unless a ransom is paid. Companies responsible for handling confidential or proprietary information are particularly vulnerable to this kind of attack.
Based on the number of victims, California experienced the most significant threat from ransomware in 2018, followed by Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. Despite being in the top 5 in terms of cases, Illinois still had less than one-third of the ransomware cases of California.
It’s no surprise that California also ranks the highest in terms of financial losses due to ransomware at $737,384, but Texas is close behind at $725,847 despite having more than 35 percent fewer cases of ransomware. You know what they say, “everything is bigger in Texas”. Unfortunately for them, this isn’t exactly an achievement to be excited about.
Whereas most average internet users don’t have to worry about ransomware, anyone with a Paypal or “Gmail” account is in danger of a personal breach. This qualifies as any kind of personal data breach––identity theft, email hacking, and stolen credit cards. These attacks are much smaller in scale, but anyone who experiences one will certainly feel the effects.
Similar to ransomware, California residents are most likely to experience a breach of their personal data. With 8383 cases, they have more than twice as many attacks as any other state. On the contrary, residents of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming experience less than 100 cases a year.
Financially speaking, Minnesota is a surprise ranking fifth in the country despite having a significantly lower population than the other four: California, Florida, Texas and New York. To avoid losing money to personal data breaches, your best bet is once again living somewhere in the Dakotas.
Tech breaches fit the stereotypical mold of “hacking”. Typically some sort of virus or malware, these attacks aim simply to disable to disrupt the servers of large companies and compromise their data.
The victims of these attacks are almost identical to those of personal breaches, with the only exception being Washington taking the place of Georgia in the top five. The fewest cases are reported by residents of either the midwest or New England.
In the realm of financial losses, Minnesota reclaims its top-five spot along with the usual suspects of California, Florida, Texas and New York. Together they account for over $90 million of losses to their local business people.
Relationship Scam Problems
The final, and possibly most interesting category includes scams through online dating platforms. These attacks include cases of confidence fraud and elaborate romance schemes that prove to be fairytales. While California residents are the most likely to get “catfished”, the state of Virginia delivers on its travel motto “Virginia is for lovers” by ranking in the top 5 with almost 3,000 victims annually.
Despite earning a top spot for the number of victims, Virginia was edged out by their neighbors to the south in North Carolina in financial losses. North Carolinians are paying almost $25 million a year for these internet scams, less than $1.7 million less than that of New York residents. To avoid heartbreak, and keep your bank account secure, consider making a move to always faithful South Dakota to find your “special someone”. Odds are, you won’t get your identity will be safe too!
The innovation of the tech industry is not something to ever question. However, with the amount of innovation there is, scammers are constantly looking for new ways to infiltrate the industry. To reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of a scam, make sure you have secure passwords set for your accounts, change your passwords frequently, and don’t share your information with anyone.