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FBI Reports Online Crime At All Time High
The U.S. FBI reports that online crime is at an all time high. So why are we hearing so little about it? No Longer Supported
Though the total number of complaints were down slightly (0.3%) the total amount of money lost has increased by 25%. The raw numbers are staggering, over 98,000 cases of reported fraud that led to financial loss. The total amount of money reported loss was over $239 million, the median dollar loss per complaint was $680. eMail messages is how 73% of the cases of fraud began, 34% started at a website.

These numbers are even more staggering when you consider that other studies have shown that only a small percentage of people report these type of crimes. People are often too embarrassed when they find out they were tricked in to a scam. Often times the victim thought they about to make money in a work at home activity such as becoming a shopper for a "Secret Shopper" activity. Or they thought they were helping a charity organization build clean water facilities in a poor village some where. Once they find out they were suckered they often don't want anyone to know.

Businesses too fall victim to these crimes, though in much smaller numbers. Remember business are comprised of individuals and generally the smaller the business the more decision making power an individual may have. Many of the individual victims received unsolicited phishing and fraud messages at work. This could possibly lead to liability for the company if they failed to take appropriate measures to block illegal spam.

"Recent high activity scams commonly reported to the IC3 in 2007 were those involving pets, checks, spam, and online dating sites, all of which have proven effective as criminal devices in the hands of fraudsters."

In a time when other crime statistics are showing improvements one has to wonder why the media is showing far less attention to internet crimes than they have in years past. Perhaps they have what they consider more important things to cover (e.g. the war in Iraq, the U.S. Presidential election, etc.). But it could also be that these crimes generally take place a few people at a time. In years past there were huge worm outbreaks that effected perhaps hundreds of thousands of people at a time. That makes for a much better story than yet another grandparent in the heartland falling victim to a work at home scam. But those of us in the industry need to realize that online crimes have not gone away and that we need to stay vigilant to new vulnerabilities that can facilitate these activities.

You can download the full FBI report here.

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Posted by on Monday 07 April 2008 - 05:51:39 | |printer friendly
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