Internet Crime Complaint Center logs 1 million cyber-grievances

Not sure this is good news : The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported this week that it had logged its 1 millionth consumer complaint about alleged online fraud or cyber crime. The actual

millionth complaint hit the IC3 system on June 11th, 2007, the center said in a statement.

Since it opened shop in 2000, IC3 has referred 461,096 criminal complaints to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country for further consideration. The vast majority of cases were concerning fraud and involved financial loss on the part of the complainant. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was estimated to be $647.1 million with a median dollar loss of $270 per complaint.

Many of these complaints involved reports of identity theft, such as loss of personal identifying data, unauthorized use of credit cards or bank accounts, and the like. Information from the non-criminal complaints received has been used to detect emerging trends and proactively work to avoid consumer victimization using the resources of project partners and the consumer education website LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com.

In March, the IC3 said that auction fraud complaints made up about 45% of the 207,492 complaints received by the IC3 last year, but that number is down significantly from 2005, when auction fraud was cited 63% of the time.

Overall, the number of complaints received by IC3 was down 10% from the previous year, when the IC3 logged 231,493 complaints. But the total dollar losses reported were up in 2006, totaling $198 million for the year. In 2005 that number was $183 million.

Complaints for non-delivery of merchandise represented 19% of complaints. They made up 16% in 2005.

IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime.

The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.

For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local and international level, IC3 provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes. IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the person who believes they were defrauded or from a third party to the complainant.

When filing a complaint, the IC# recommends providing them with:

* Your name

* Your mailing address

* Your telephone number

* The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you.

* Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.

* Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI this week had its own million milestone: The Department of Justice and FBI said on Wednesday ongoing investigations have identified over 1 million botnet crime victims.

The FBI is working with industry partners, including the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University, to notify the victim owners of the computers. Microsoft and the Botnet Task Force have also helped out the FBI.

Through this process the FBI may uncover additional incidents in which botnets have been used to facilitate other criminal activity, the FBI said in a statement.

The FBI and Justice Dept. have an ongoing cyber crime initiative to disrupt and dismantle botherders known as Operation Bot Roast.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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