Cybercrime In America – Which State Is Most At Risk In 2018?

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cybercrime and cybersecurity in united states of america 2018“Cybercrime is the fastest growing type of criminal activity in the United States – and it’s affecting more and more of us each year!”

Whether it’s credit card fraud, identity theft, email hacking, ransomware, account stealing or any other number of activities – you’re in the midst of an online war you may not even know it.

Billions of dollars are spent each year combating cybercrime and yet the number, intensity and severity of attacks keeps increasing.

Cybercrime is especially troubling for people who want to build their own website, like you. Not only do you not want your site to be hacked, but you want to protect your visitors too!

If people can’t trust your site, then your traffic will quickly disappear and so will your website…

At WBE, we encourage taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others online.

Not entirely sold? To give you an idea of how at risk you are, we’ve used publicly available data to work out the potential losses each US state will see from cybercrime in 2018.


We used publicly available data from the FBI and the Insurance Information Institute to answer some questions we had about cybercrime and its repercussions in the coming year.

Hopefully, by showing you how at risk you actually are, it will encourage you to take extra measures to protect yourself and your website visitors.

1.Which state is most at risk to cybercrime?

Our research suggests that California is going to have the most cybercrime complaints of any state over the next 12 months.

RankStateEstimated number of cybercrime complaints in 2018
#5New York19,507

With over 18,000 more complaints than second-place Florida, the Golden State finds itself at the top of a list that no-one wants to top.

It’s even more surprising when you realize that Californians will report more cybercrime attacks this year than the bottom 27 states combined, which is crazy.

At the opposite end of the ranking, we found Vermont to be the potentially safest state online, with only 413 cybercrimes predicted to be reported by individuals this year.

2.Which state is most likely to be attacked?

This figure highlights cybercrime density, or in other words, which state has more complaints per population than any other.

RankStateEstimated number of cybercrime complaints per 100,000 population
(aka cybercrime density)

It’s bad news for Michigan as although the state won’t see as much cybercriminal activity as California, it’s residents are more likely to experience an attack due to a much smaller population.

Boasting a worryingly large 201.89 complaints per 100,000 people, Michigan is among the most vulnerable states to cyber criminals.

Our research found Hawaii to have the lowest number of complaints per population with a teeny 55.20 complaints per 100,000 population.

And on the mainland? West Virginians are the least likely to report a cybercrime with only 63.13 reports per 100,000 population.

3.Which state’s cybercrime is growing the fastest?

Taking the average annual change in the number of cybercrimes being reported by individuals, we were able to identify the state where cybercrime is growing quickest.

RankStateAverage yearly growth in number of reported cybercrimes
#1Florida+1,421 per annum
#2Michigan+1,295 per annum
#3Illinois+562 per annum
#4Missouri+551 per annum
#5California+515 per annum

Our research found that, worryingly, it’s the Sunshine State that sees the biggest annual increase in cybercrime complaints with a whopping 1,421 additional complaints each year on average.

If we had to make a guess, it would be that cybercriminals are targeting areas with older populations that are less technically confident and who are more likely to fall prey to shady online tactics.

On the other hand, we found that on average New York is managing to reduce its cybercrime by around 349 complaints each year. Way to go New York!

4.Which state will lose the most money to cybercrime (and how much)?

This is the big one – the total dollars lost from individual cybercrime complaints in 2018.

RankStateEstimated total dollars lost by individuals to cybercrime in 2018
#2New York$139,450,948

Unsurprisingly, California topped the pile in terms of potential cash losses. This isn’t too shocking considering the Golden State has far and away the highest number of potential cybercrime complaints in the coming year.

Losing more than $300 million dollars to cyber criminals is not good news for anyone, so California has a lot of work to do to the combat these extreme losses.

Whether it’s implementing statewide initiatives to educate the population about online security, or whether it’s investing money into a more robust online architecture, something needs to be done.

At the bottom of the table sit Vermont and North Dakota, whose populations will both have less than a million dollars stolen in total across 2018.

5.Which individuals will be hit hardest by cybercrime attacks?

This metric shows the average dollars lost per individually reported cybercrime – it’s not a definitive figure, but a good measure of where cybercrime attacks are the hardest hitting.

RankStateEstimated average number of dollars lost per reported cybercrime in 2018
#1New York$7,149

Let’s hope New york continues to reduce its number of reported cybercrimes because right now attacks on the Empire State’s are the hardest hitting in the entire country.

Averaging a huge $7,149 per reported attack, New Yorkers better make it a new year’s resolution to step up their online security if they don’t want to be stung.

On the other end of the spectrum sits Maine, where each reported cybercrime averages around $950 in losses.

It’s worth remembering that these figures are averages from the total losses by individuals. This means that if the worst does happen, you won’t necessarily lose as much money as we’ve reported above – but similarly, you could potentially be stung for much more – so be careful!


Below you’ll find the full set of results that we found in our research.

Why not check out your state and see how it measures up?


We believe it is important to maintain transparency with our research. This not only lets you verify our claims but ensures that everyone can replicate our research and potentially benefit from it.

We used the following data sets in our research:

  • FBI Internet Crime Report (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Insurance Information Institute – Identity theft and cybercrime Statistics (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

And here’s how we worked out our results:

Which state is most at risk to cybercrime?

  • We took an average of the annual changes in individually reported cybercrimes between 2008-2016 for each state
  • We added this average to the 2016 data to find a figure for 2017
  • We then added this average to our 2017 figure to create a prediction for 2018
E.g. In 2016 California had 54,744 complaints about cybercrimes. Between 2008-2016 the state had an average annual increase of 515 crimes. So in 2017 California would be expected to have had around (54,744 + 515) cybercrimes reported, or 55,259 reports. And in 2018 it will have (55,259 + 515) cybercrimes reported by individuals, or 55,774 complaints in total.

Which state is most likely to be attacked?

  • We took an average of the annual changes in the number of cybercrimes reported per 100,000 population between 2008-2016
  • We added this average to the 2016 data to find a figure for 2017
  • We then added this average to our 2017 figure to create a prediction for 2018

Which state’s cybercrime is growing the fastest?

This metric uses the same data as ‘Which state is most at risk to cybercrime’, but sorts the average annual changes from highest to lowest, rather than adding it to existing complaints.

Which state will lose the most money to cybercrime (and how much)?

  • We took an average of the annual changes in total dollar losses from individually reported cybercrimes between 2011-2016 for each state
  • We added this average to the 2016 data to find a figure for 2017
  • We then added this average to our 2017 figure to create a prediction for 2018
E.g. Between 2011-2016, total losses from individually reported cybercrime increased by an average of $36,631 per year. By adding this average to the 2016 losses of $1,192,677 we can predict a figure for 2017. Then by adding this average increase to our predicted 2017 total losses, we can predict total losses for 2018, which sit at $1,265,939.

Which individuals will be hit hardest by cybercrime attacks?

  • This figure was found by dividing the predicted statewide financial losses in 2018 by the predicted number of reported cybercrimes in 2018
  • This gives us an average loss figure for each cybercrime

With this figure, it’s worth remembering that it is a predicted average – not a guarantee. This means that if you are the victim of cybercrime you won’t necessarily lose as much money as our data shows, but you may (if very unlucky) lose more!


This research produced some amazing – and potentially very alarming – results!

It’s not pretty reading for Californians who look set to report more cybercrimes and more financial losses than any other state – not good!

Still, knowing is half the battle. With the figures written down, it should encourage discussions about how to combat cybercriminals and improve online security.

Heck, from what we learnt in 2017, it’s not just our bank accounts at risk – it’s our very democracy itself.

With this in mind, there has never been a better, or more relevant, time to upgrade your cyber security and to include being more cyber-aware on your new year’s resolution list.

Remember, our figures are all estimated using averages from previous year’s data. They’re more of a prediction than solid fact, and the best way we can keep the numbers as low as possible is by staying vigilant online.


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