The Federal Bureau of Investigation's National White Collar Crime Center has reported a significant rise in reported Internet frauds in 2007, taking the total losses for the year to $240 million – up $40 million on 2006.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 206 884 complaints in 2007, with 90 000 referred to various law enforcement agencies, according to the FBI’s 2007 Internet Crime Report released recently and quoted in the newsletter of security company Iovation.
"The Internet presents a wealth of opportunity for would-be criminals to prey on unsuspecting victims, and this report shows how extensive these types of crime have become," said FBI Cyber Division assistant director James E. Finch, in a statement. "What this report does not show is how often this type of activity goes unreported."
Median dollar loss in 2007 per complaint was $680, the FBI revealed, with men losing on average $1.67 to every dollar women lost in online fraud last year.
Online auction fraud was the most-reported online crime in 2007, accounting for 35.7 percent of complaints, the FBI said. Non-delivery of goods or services was the next most common report, accounting for 24.9 percent of complaints. Confidence scams accounted for 6.7 percent; credit-card fraud accounted for 6.3 percent; check fraud accounted for 6 percent and computer fraud 5.3 percent.
Surprisingly, given all the press attention this sort of crime generates, identity theft accounted for just 2.9 percent of all complaints and Nigerian letter fraud, more commonly known as ‘419 scams', accounted for only 1.1 percent of all reported online fraud, the FBI said.
The highest dollar loss per crime reported was from investment scams with a median loss of $3 547, with check fraud next at $3 000 and Nigerian letter fraud at $1 922.
Men were more often perpetrators and victims of online crime than women in 2007, with men accounting for 75.2 percent of reported perpetrators and 57.6 percent of all complainants, according to the report. The average loss for men per complaint was $765 compared to women whose median loss was $552.
By far the state with the highest complainants per 100 000 people was Alaska, with 356. By comparison Colorado was No. 2 with 90 per 100 000 people, the report revealed.
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