Online crime complaints again increased substantially in 2009, with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) receiving a total of 336 655 complaints, a 22,3% increase from 2008. The total loss linked to online fraud, however, almost doubled from $265-million in 2008 to $559,7-million in 2009.
This is according to the 2009 Annual Report about fraudulent activity on the Internet released by the IC3, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
Although the complaints consisted of a variety of fraud types, advanced fee scams that fraudulently used the FBI's name ranked number one (16,6%). Non-delivery of merchandise and/or payment was the second most reported offense (11,9%).
The 2009 Annual Report details information related to the volume and scope of complaints, complainant and perpetrator characteristics, geographical data, most frequently reported scams and results of IC3 referrals.
“Law enforcement relies on the corporate sector and citizens to report when they encounter on-line suspicious activity so these schemes can be investigated and criminals can be arrested,” says Peter Trahon, Section Chief of the FBI's Cyber Division. “Computer users are encouraged to have up-to-date security protection on their devices and evaluate email solicitations they receive with a healthy skepticism – if something seems too good to be true, it likely is.”
NW3C Director Donald Brackman says the report's findings underscore the threat posed by cyber criminals. “The figures contained in this report indicate that criminals are continuing to take full advantage of the anonymity afforded them by the Internet. They are also developing increasingly sophisticated means of defrauding unsuspecting consumers. Internet crime is evolving in ways we couldn't have imagined just five years ago."