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Online crime at second highest in decade
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (3/4/11)--Just how pervasive has Internet crime become? In 2010, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 303,809 complaints--the second-highest total in IC3's 10-year history and an average of 25,317 complaints per month. IC3, a repository for victim complaints, is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). It has received more than two million Internet crime complaints since it was established in 2000. The three most common complaints:
* Nondelivery of payment or merchandise (14.4% of complaints); * Scams using the FBI's name (13.2%); and * Identity theft (9.8%).
Others included: computer crimes, 9.1%; miscellaneous fraud, 8.6%; advance fee fraud, 7.6%; spam, 6.9%; auction fraud, 5.9%; credit card fraud, 5.3%; and overpayment fraud, 5.3%. Of those with dollar losses reported, 21.1% related to non-delivery of payment or merchandise; 16.6% were identity theft, 10.1% were auction fraud, and 9.3% were credit card fraud. This represents a shift, said the report. Historically, auction fraud has been the leading complaint by victims, accounting for 71.2% of referrals in 2004. But in 2010, auction fraud represented slightly more than 10% of the complaints. "This demonstrates the growing diversification of crimes related to the Internet," said IC3's 2010 Annual Report. "The steady decline in the total number of complaints and referrals of auction fraud over the last several years has altered the top complaint categories." The cause is unknown, said the report, which added a possible explanation could be that "complaint levels are normalizing as businesses and consumers discover and implement ways to make previously uncharted areas of online commerce safe and more reliable." Online crime affected all demographic groups. Age groups and gender gaps were narrower. Most complainants were in the U.S., male, between 40 and 59 years old, and a resident of California, Florida, Texas or New York. Most foreign complainants were from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia or India. Men reported greater dollar losses than women (at a ratio of $1.25 to $1). Individuals 60 and older reported higher median amounts of losses than other age groups, said the report.
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