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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Internet Crime Report
April 05, 2010
Internet Crime Report
Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
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Internet Crime ReportThe Internet Crime Complaint Center [IC3], a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center [NW3C], released the 2009 Annual Report about fraudulent activity on the Internet recently.
Online crime complaints increased substantially once again last year, according to the report. The IC3 received a total of 336,655 complaints, a 22.3 percent increase from 2008. The total loss linked to online fraud was $559.7 million; this is up from $265 million in 2008.
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 percent]. Non-delivery of merchandise and/or payment was the second most reported offense [11.9 percent].
Of the top five categories of offenses reported to law enforcement during 2009, non-delivered merchandise and/or payment ranked 19.9%; identity theft, 14.1%; credit card fraud, 10.4%; auction fraud, 10.3%; and computer fraud [destruction/damage/vandalism of property], 7.9%
In addition to FBI scams, popular scam trends for 2009 included hitman scams, astrological reading frauds, economic scams, job site scams, and fake pop-up ads for antivirus software.
Email scams that used the FBI name [schemes in which the scammer pretended to be affiliated with the FBI in an effort to gain information from the target] represented 16.6% of all complaints submitted to IC3. Non-delivered merchandise and/or payment [in which either a seller did not ship the promised item or a buyer did not pay for an item] accounted for 11.9% of complaints.
Advance fee fraud [a scam wherein the target is asked to give money upfront- often times- for some reward that never materializes] made up 9.8% of complaints. Identity theft and overpayment fraud [scams in which the target is given a fraudulent monetary instrument in excess of the agreed-upon amount for the transaction, and asked to send back the overpayment using a legitimate monetary instrument] round out the top five categories of all complaints submitted to IC3 during the year.
“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,” stated 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.”
If you have received an e-mail referencing the above information or have been a victim of this or a similar incident, you should notify the IC3 via www.ic3.gov.
Remember - always watch for scams!
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