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Online crime losses more than doubled in 2009
WASHINGTON (3/16/10)--Online crime losses more than doubled during 2009, reaching $559.7 million, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). That compares with $265 million lost during 2008. IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). The number of complaints also rose--to 336,655 complaints, or 22.3% more than the 275,284 complaints filed in 2008. Complaints involved fraud and nonfraud categories including auction fraud, nondelivery of merchandise fraud, credit card fraud, computer intrusions, spam/unsolicited e-mail, and child pornography, said IC3. In 2009, IC3 implemented a new complaint classification system, separating complaints into 79 categories. This resulted in a number of changes to the way the system gathers the data and classifies complaint data. Among the significant findings for 2009:
* E-mail scams that used the FBI's name to gain information represented 16.6% of all complaints submitted. Nondelivered merchandise and/or payment accounted for 11.9% of complaints, advance fee fraud made up 9.8%. Rounding out the top five categories were identity theft and overpayment fraud. * Of the top five categories of offenses reported, nondelivered 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), 7.9%. * Of the complaints involving financial harm and referred to law enforcement, the highest median dollar losses were found among investment fraud ($3,200), overpayment fraud ($2,500), and advance fee fraud ($1,500). * Among complainants, 54% were male, nearly two-thirds were between the ages of 30 and 50, and more than one-third resided in either California, Florida, Texas or New York. Ninety-two percent of the complaints were from the U.S. * Males lost more money than females. Men lost $1.51 to every $1 that women lost. Individuals who were between 40 and 49 years old on average lost more than other age groups.
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