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See how Pennsylvania is affected by e-commerce scams | #phishing | #scams | #hacking | #aihp

(STACKER) — While economies the world over suffered, slowed, and effectively stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fraud economy flourished. Experts estimated that the annual global cost of fraud in 2020 would total just over $5 trillion USD—that’s more than the gross domestic product of most countries.

But those were pre-pandemic estimates, derived under pre-pandemic conditions and an old normal. Experts believe the actual total in our new COVID-concurrent reality is much higher. In some areas around the world, rates of fraud rose by nearly 20%.

The fraud economy, like any other, is vast, complex and full of skilled operators who drive it. Cybercrime is a major contributor to the fraud economy, with e-commerce fraud as an offshoot.

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In the first year of the pandemic, e-commerce sales in the U.S. rose by more than 32%, totaling $791.7 billion as businesses and consumers turned to online shopping amid lockdowns, social distancing restrictions, brick-and-mortar closures, and illness anxiety. But where there is prosperity earned honestly, there is also opportunity for bad actors to cash in.

Wicked Reports broke down state-by-state 2020 data (including Washington D.C.) from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaints Center to determine the states most harmed by non-payment and non-delivery scams in e-commerce, ranked by losses per victim. Population data as of July 1, 2021 was taken from the U.S. Census Bureau to estimate victims per 100,000 citizens for each state. Interestingly, the top five states most impacted by these scams were neither the states that shop online the most—which could have made them statistically more likely to be affected—nor were they the states that online shop the least, which could have indicated a lack of familiarity with e-commerce best practices.

Vigilance and a healthy bit of skepticism can be your greatest asset in protecting your information online, particularly in e-commerce settings. If a website looks suspicious or a deal looks too good to be true, walk away. Or at least take time to vet it thoroughly. E-commerce fraud is projected to grow by 105% by 2025.

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National Cyber Security