Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Top 10 Internet Crimes of 2006

The IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) , a partnership betweeen the FBI and the NW3C (National White Collar Crime Center) issued a report for the year 2006.

In 2006, IC3 processed more than 200,481 complaints that support Internet crime investigations by law enforcement and regulatory agencies nationwide. These complaints were composed of many different fraud types such as 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. All of these complaints are accessible to federal, state, and local law enforcement to support active investigations, trend analysis, and public outreach and awareness efforts.

From the submissions, IC3 referred 86,279 complaints of crime to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country for further consideration. The vast majority of cases were fraudulent in nature and involved a financial loss on the part of the complainant. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $198.44 million with a median dollar loss of $724.00 per complaint. This is up from $183.12 million in total reported losses in 2005. Other significant findings related to an analysis of referrals include:

• Internet auction fraud was by far the most reported offense, comprising 44.9% of referred complaints. Non-delivered merchandise and/or payment accounted for 19.0% of complaints. Check fraud made up 4.9% of complaints. Credit/debit card fraud, computer fraud, confidence fraud, and financial institutions fraud round out the top seven categories of complaints referred to law enforcement during the year.
• Of those individuals who reported a dollar loss, the highest median losses were found among Nigerian letter fraud ($5,100), check fraud ($3,744), and other investment fraud ($2,695) complainants.

• Among perpetrators, 75.2% were male and half resided in one of the following states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The majority of reported perpetrators were from the United States. However, a significant number of perpetrators where also located in United Kingdom, Nigeria, Canada, Romania, and Italy.

• Among complainants, 61.2% were male, nearly half were between the ages of 30 and 50 and one-third resided in one of the four most populated states: California, Texas, Florida, and New York. While most were from the United States, IC3 received a number of complaints from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, India, and Germany.
• 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.

• Electronic mail (e-mail) (73.9%) and webpages (36.0%) were the two primary mechanisms by which the fraudulent contact took place.

• Recent high activity scams seen by IC3 include hit man scams, phishing attempts associated with spoofed sites, and counterfeit checking scams.

The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud in 2006 was $198.44 million. That loss was greater than 2005 which reported a total loss of $183.12 million. Of those complaints with a reported monetary loss, the mean dollar loss was $2529.90 and the median was $724.00. Sixteen percent (15.6%) of these complaints involved losses of less than $100.00, and (39.4%) reported a loss between $100.00 and $1,000.00. In other words, over half of these cases involved a monetary loss of less than $1,000.00. Nearly a third (31.6%) of the complainants reported losses between $1,000.00 and $5,000.00 and only 13.3% indicated a loss greater than $5,000.00. The highest dollar loss per incident was reported by Nigerian Letter Fraud (median loss of $5,100.00). Check fraud victims, with a median loss of $3,744.00 and investment fraud (median loss of $2,694.99) were other high dollar loss categories. The lowest dollar loss was associated with credit/debit card fraud (median loss of $427.50).3

It's brimming with interesting statistics, including the Top 10 IC3 Complaint Categories:
Category % of complaints
Auction Fraud 44.9%
Non-Delivery 19%
Check Fraud 4.9%
Credit/Debit Card Fraud 4.8%
Computer Fraud 2.8%
Confidence Fraud 2.2%
Financial Instiitutions Fraud 1.6%
Identity Theft 1.6%
Investment Fraud 1.3%
Child Pornography 1.0%

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