Internet crime losses hit all time high

Internet crime resulted in nearly $240 million in reported losses in 2007, a $40 million increase over reported losses in 2006, according to the 2007 Internet Crime Report, issued today by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

During 2007, Internet auction fraud was by far the most reported offense, comprising 35.7% of referred crime complaints. That number was a 20.5% decrease from the 2006 levels of auction fraud reported to IC3. In addition, during 2007, the non-delivery of merchandise and/or payment represented 24.9% of complaints (up 31.1% from 2006). Confidence fraud made up an additional 6.7% of complaints. Credit and debit card fraud, check fraud, and computer fraud complaints represented 17.6% of all referred complaints. Other complaint categories such as identity theft, financial institutions fraud, threats, and Nigerian letter fraud complaints together represented less than 8.3% of all complaints.

Since the group started issuing its annual report, Internet crime costs have soared from $17.8 million in 2001 to the $240 million last year.

IC3 referred 90,008 complaints of crime to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country for further consideration. The vast majority of cases referred alleged fraud and involved a financial loss on the part of the complainant. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $239.09 million with a median dollar loss of $680.00 per complaint. This was an increase from $198.44 million in total reported losses in 2006.

The report notes a number of interesting facts, among them:

·          Top 10 cybercrime states: California 15.8%, Florida 10.1%, New York 9.9%, Texas 7.0%, Illinois 3.6%, Pennsylvania 3.5%, Georgia 3.1%, Ohio 2.8%, Washington 2.8%, New Jersey 2.8%.

·          Top 10 cybercrime countries: United States 63.2%, United Kingdom 15.3%, Nigeria 5.7%, Canada 5.6%, Romania 1.5%, Italy 1.3%, Spain 0.9%, South Africa 0.9%, Russia 0.8%, Ghana 0.7%·          Perpetrators were predominantly male (75.8%) and half resided in one of the following states: California, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia. The majority of reported perpetrators were from the United States. However, a significant number of perpetrators also were located in United Kingdom, Nigeria, Canada, Romania, and Italy.

·          Among complainants, 57.6% were male, nearly half were between the ages of 30 and 50 and one-third resided in one of the four most populated states: California, Florida, Texas, and New York. While most were from the United States, IC3 received a number of complaints from Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Mexico.

·          Males complainants lost more money than females (ratio of $1.67 to every $1.00 lost per female). This may be a function of both online purchasing differences by gender and the type of fraudulent schemes by which the individuals were victimized.

·          Electronic mail (e-mail) (73.6%) and web pages (32.7%) were the two primary mechanisms by which the fraudulent contact took place.

·          Recent high activity scams commonly reported to the IC3 in 2007 were those involving pets, checks, spam, and online dating sites, all of which have proven effective as criminal devices in the hands of fraudsters. 

IC3 is a joint operation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. 

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