Internet-based crime is one of the fastest growing security threats in the United States. As internet use increases, there has also been a shift in how people use computers for transactions and communication. Personal information such as email addresses, phone numbers, names, and other login credentials are utilized by hackers to commit identity fraud. In a September 2018 survey of U.S. adults, 32.7 percent of respondents stated that they had experienced a hack of their social media or e-mail account . In another survey conducted during the same year, 14 percent of respondents stated that their online accounts had been hacked more than once . Overall, consumers in the United States are keenly aware that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime is increasing .

The expansion of e-commerce has also led to more incidents of cybercrime . In 2018, 16,128 cases of online identity theft and 65,116 cases of non-payment or non-delivery fraud were reported to the U.S. Internet Crime Complaint Center. Digital transactions and the emergence of online banking have presented cybercriminals an environment in which they can make fraudulent use of consumers’ personal information without their consent. Victims of cybercrime incur significant damages , especially when their personal or financial information is misappropriated for criminal purposes. Online confidence fraud and romance scams reached 362.5 million U.S. dollars in reported victim losses in 2018.

Although the Internet has enabled the development of new platforms for communication and social networking, consumer trust for these platforms have decreased while concerns regarding hacking and identity theft are on the rise. As consumers are increasingly aware of potential issues , they are also taking preventive measures or seeking solutions. In fact, user behavior plays a key role in combating cybercrime and prevention is typically the best defense. Some tips for prevention include keeping your computer current with the latest updates, making sure it is configured securely, choosing strong passwords and protecting your computer with security software.

A 2018 survey revealed that over 80 percent of internet users in the United States thought that they protected themselves well or very well online and as such, it is perhaps unsurprising 56 percent of respondents in the United States had taken some form of online security precautions over the past three years. However, another survey showed that over a quarter of adults in the United States use the same password for all their online logins , demonstrating that convenience can still stand in the way of security.


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