Tennessee’s Rising Cybercrime: $161 Million Lost in 2023


A recent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation found that an astounding amount of money has been lost to internet scammers around the country, including in the Volunteer State.

According to the 2023 Internet Crime Report, Tennessee residents lost $161 million to online predators. It’s a terrible trend, up 40% from $113 million lost in 2022.

Tennessee is 31st in the nation in terms of the amount of money lost to cybercrime. According to the research, a total of $12.5 billion went missing across the country in 2023.

According to Supervisory Special Agent Regis Billings of the FBI Nashville Resident Agency Cyber Squad, those over the age of 60 are more likely to be targeted by these hackers. He attributed the statistic to the older population’s lack of technological expertise and experience.

“It’s heartbreaking to go out to people who have given their life savings either to a tech support scam, a romance scam, or think that they’re rolling over their 401(k) into another investment such as cryptocurrency, only to be completely defrauded by the bad guys,” Billings said in a press release. “We’re seeing a lot of this revolve around the emerging use of technology by new users that didn’t have the opportunity to grow up with it.”

Tennessee citizens reportedly filed 8,484 complaints with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) last year. The IC3 received 880,418 complaints nationwide in 2023.

“If you feel like you are becoming the victim of one of these crimes, reach out to your local law enforcement partners to verify what’s going on,” Billings said in a statement. According to FBI data, the most common types of losses in Tennessee were tech support scams, investment fraud, and business e-mail compromise.

“In a lot of the tech scams, they are using the U.S. government’s name, either the FBI or the IRS, and purporting or pretending to be the government,” Billings said in a statement. “The United States government will not tell you via SMS or the internet to give us money in exchange for not prosecuting you. Someone would show up at your residence as a special agent and present their credentials.”

According to Billings, the majority of cybercriminals are international in origin. He explained that they intend to boost their country’s economy by taking US money.

“They’re looking for additional sources of income, and the easiest way without producing anything, is just to steal it,” Billings said in a statement. “With some of the internet-based criminal crimes that we’ve seen, it’s really easy to get into, and they’re able to circumvent sanctions with new technologies, such as cryptocurrency, to send a lot of that cash to those nations. They’re attempting to take advantage of us.”

Billings recommended establishing two-factor authentication on your internet accounts to protect your money and personal information.

“Oftentimes, it’s a free service and they’re not utilizing it because of the inconvenience associated with it, but the security benefit just completely outweighs any inconvenience to the individual,” Billings said in an interview.

If you believe you are or have been a victim of cybercrime, contact your local FBI office or submit a complaint through ic3.gov.

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