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Internet Safety

Special Feature
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Every year, crimes committed online result in significant financial losses for businesses and individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

In 2022, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 800,944 complaints of crimes committed online, a 5 % decrease from the 847,376 complaints reported in 2021. However, the potential total losses reported increased from $6.9 billion in 2021 to more than $10.2 billion in 2022.

Recognized since 2004, October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month—a good time to review best practices for protecting your personal information online.

Older Americans at Risk for Victimization Online

According to the FBI, adults over age 60 accounted for the most cybercrime complaints (88,262) and the highest reported losses ($3.1 billion) in 2022.

Older individuals are particularly vulnerable to identity theft crimes. In the fiscal year 2019, identity theft, fraud, and financial crimes were the second most common type of victimization reported by older victims. 

National Elder Fraud Hotline 1-833-FRAUD-11, 1-833-372-8311

The Office for Victims of Crime supports the National Elder Fraud Hotline to help combat fraud against older Americans and provide services to victims. This free resource helps victims navigate federal, state, and local crime reporting processes.

Internet Safety for Youth

Children and teenagers can also be vulnerable to online crimes—tricked by anonymous predators because they do not recognize suspicious behavior or activity online.

Developed with support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Safety Pledge website provides free resources to help parents, educators, and other caregivers learn about the risks children face online and how to help them respond safely.

OJJDP also supports 61 Internet Crimes Against Children task forces nationwide to help law enforcement agencies respond to online child victimization.

One common type of internet crime that impacts children is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can be defined as willful and repeated harm inflicted through computers, cell phones, or other electronic devices.

Reports of cyberbullying in public schools have risen over the past decade. During the 2019–2020 school year, 16% of public schools reported cyberbullying occurring among students at least once a week. In comparison, 8% of schools noted cyberbullying issues during the 2009–2010 school year, according to the Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2022.

Research supported by the National Institute of Justice found that school-based programs specifically designed to prevent or curb cyberbullying are better at reducing cyberbullying than general anti-bullying programs.

How OJP Supports Law Enforcement Investigating Crimes Involving Technology

The Law Enforcement Cyber Center, supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, assists law enforcement personnel, digital forensic investigators, and prosecutors who investigate and work to prevent crimes involving technology.

The Dark Web has emerged as an important hub of criminal commerce. In this fully functioning marketplace, hidden customers can buy from hidden sellers with relative confidence, often with customer ratings available. A report supported by NIJ titled “Identifying Law Enforcement Needs for Conducting Criminal Investigations Involving Evidence on the Dark Web” explores better ways for law enforcement to investigate dark web crimes.

More on Internet Safety from OJP

Visit the following pages for additional information and resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal agencies:

Internet Safety General Information Online Safety for Youth Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking
Date Modified: October 17, 2023
Date Created: August 17, 2020