Print 12 comment(s) - last by lco45.. on Apr 10 at 4:33 AM

New report says crime on the web is up

The 2007 Internet Crime Report is out, and it reveals a startling $239 million USD was lost in 2007 due to internet fraud. Both the report and its issuer, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), are joint efforts between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

For the year 2007, the IC3 received 219,553 complaints, and chose to refer 90,008 of those to law enforcement agencies for investigation. The report’s statistics are drawn from complaints it chose to refer which, collectively had a “median dollar loss” of $680.00, totaling the report's banner figure of $239 million. This figure was up 20% over last year’s $198.4 million.

Scammers living in the U.S. generally hail from California, Florida, Texas, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia, says the IC3, while scammers living outside the country most often lived in the UK, Nigeria, Canada, Romania, or Italy.

“Perpetrators,” as they are called, were over three quarters male (75.8%), while victims were just over half male (57.6%).  When scammed, male “complainants” generally lost more money than females: complaints filed by men were generally for amounts two thirds higher: $1.67 for every $1.00 per female.

E-mail continues to be the leading source of internet fraud, with over 60 percent of complaints revolving around auction fraud and non-delivery. Nigerian letter fraud, also known as the infamous 419 scam, totaled just above one percent, ranking lowest and below online threats (1.6%), identity theft (2.9%), and credit/debit card fraud (6.3%).

“The Internet presents a wealth of opportunity for would be criminals to prey on unsuspecting victims,” said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James E. Finch, before noting that the 2007 Internet Crime Report fails to show “how often this type of activity goes unreported.”

Scammers tend to prey on victims’ sense of emotion, and 2007 was no different: the prevailing scams of the year included fake pet ads, phony romance relationships, and bogus adoption ads – the worst of which promise healthy sums of money to whoever adopts the child from his or her supposedly rich, dying parents.

It’s important to keep in mind that fraudsters are becoming smarter than ever -- Symantec is noticing an increase in phishing attempts targeted at specific organizations and, in some cases, individuals. Oftentimes such attacks will focus on a company’s managerial staff, or individuals who possess a key role or controlling stake in an organization; the goal now more than ever is financial gain and the acquisition of valuable personal information, particularly from the rich.

As always, internet users are reminded to stay vigilant. Keep anti-virus software running and updated, ignore suspicious, spammy, or otherwise funny looking e-mail messages, and always check the address bar for suspicious URLs before giving away any potentially interesting personal data.

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Internet Scams
By Master Kenobi on 4/8/2008 9:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
They only work because the vast majority of people on the 'net are too trusting. This was not a problem in the early days of the net being as small as it was and the inability to distribute such things widely. Web2.0 and to a larger extent the AOL age pushing everyone and their uncle on the web have made this possible.

RE: Internet Scams
By tmouse on 4/8/2008 10:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
Personally I'd leave off the "vast majority " (although it may be true) and add too greedy and too stupid.

RE: Internet Scams
By eye smite on 4/8/2008 12:27:08 PM , Rating: 5
I'll second that. It's amazing how people won't take the time to learn some simple rules about how they deal with the internet but cry like babies when they get exploited. It's sad really.

RE: Internet Scams
By Owls on 4/8/2008 3:09:54 PM , Rating: 1
It's safe to say 2007 was the year of the Rickrolls.

No mention of viagra?
By wordsworm on 4/8/2008 9:50:40 AM , Rating: 5
I keep getting solicitations about how viagra will make my sex life better. I don't see how it'll cure my wife's headaches.

RE: No mention of viagra?
By Master Kenobi on 4/8/2008 9:56:05 AM , Rating: 2
I got a good chuckle for this, good post.

I would be concerned...
By i3arracuda on 4/8/2008 9:27:59 AM , Rating: 2
...but I've just been informed that the Nigerian Chambers of Commerce and Industry wants to transfer $47.5M USD, which resulted from an over-invoiced contract, executed, commissioned and paid for about five years (5) ago by a foreign contractor, into my account. All they need is my bank account info!

I'm rich, bitch!

RE: I would be concerned...
By rdeegvainl on 4/8/2008 9:34:08 AM , Rating: 2
They told me 239M!!!
Actually I've seen a couple fraud attempts. Big one I've seen is some guy selling a 2003 toyota for only 3K. Story is some military guy overseas, couldn't register it. Will only take payment through a certain e-bay program (for your protection). Suspiciously though they need the payment through western union, hmmm... You can google search it, lots of these cars show up on craigslist and the like.

I am not too bothered
By senbassador on 4/9/2008 12:36:10 AM , Rating: 2
$230-something mill. That comes out to less than $1.00 per US resident. Yes, I know, the few that get hit get it big, but still.

Some context would be nice. I wonder how this compares with good old fashioned offline fraud, never mind just plain crime-- eg: muggings, carjackings, etc.

RE: I am not too bothered
By DeanO on 4/9/2008 4:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
I was going to say the same thing :-) It's definitely a problem, but worth keeping in perspective.

credit/debit card fraud (6.3%)
By joemoedee on 4/8/2008 10:52:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised this is not higher. I worked for an on-line retailer and the amount of fraud we had to fight was tremendous.

I saw mainly issues with CC's and ACH's, and some freight forwarding as well. Most online companies don't check to verify addresses, especially ship-to addresses. If the billing addresses matches, they ship it off. (Not realizing that getting a matching billing address is not that hard.)

Also, if the order is under a certain threshold (Say $750) the retailer doesn't bother to check. That's why you see the ~$600 figure listed above.

PCI compliance is a step forward in fixing some of the flaws, but I honestly don't think it addresses enough to fully thwart on-line shopping fraud.

Is it just me?
By lco45 on 4/10/2008 4:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
Or does anyone else think this figure is pretty darn low?

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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