FBI: Fraud flourishes online, perps and victims mostly male

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myspace_crimescene_small.jpgADOTAS — The Internet is a fun, interesting place, allowing people access to information that they might never have seen otherwise. It is also the wild, wild, west for the bad guys, according to the FBI.

In 2008, according to the Internet Crime Report, 275,284 complaints were filed, a 33 percent increase from the year before. The complaints were primarily related to fraudulent and non-fraudulent issues on the Internet, which included auction fraud, non-delivery, and credit/debit card fraud as well as non-fraudulent complaints such as computer intrusions, spam/unsolicited e-mail, and child pornography.

The total dollar loss, also up from the previous year, from fraud was $264.6 million with a median dollar loss of $931.00 per complaint.

“This report illustrates that sophisticated computer fraud schemes continue to flourish as financial data migrates to the Internet. It also underscores the need for continued vigilance on the part of law enforcement, businesses, and the home computer user to be aware of these schemes and employ sound security procedures,” FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Shawn Henry said.

Some of the details:

– Non-delivered merchandise and/or payment was, by far, the most reported offense, comprising 32.9% of referred complaints.
– Internet auction fraud accounted for 25.5% of referred complaints.
– Credit/debit card fraud made up 9.0% of referred complaints.
– Confidence fraud, computer fraud, check fraud, and Nigerian letter fraud round out the top seven categories of complaints referred to law enforcement during the year.

Among perpetrators:

– 77.4% were male and half resided in one of the following states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, District of Columbia, and
Washington.
– The majority of reported perpetrators, 66 percent, were from the United States.

Of those filing the complaints:

– Males lost more money than females (ratio of $1.69 dollars lost per male to every $1.00 dollar lost per
female). This may be a function of both online purchasing differences by gender and the type of fraudulent schemes
by which the individuals were victimized.

What platform fraud used:

– E-mail (74.0%) and webpages (28.9%) were the two primary mechanisms by which the fraudulent contact
took place.

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