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IC3: Online Fraud Losses Increased In 2012
WASHINGTON (5/16/13)--Online fraud losses increased last year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which Tuesday released the 2012 Internet Crime Report--a summary of reported fraudulent activity, with data and statistics.

In 2012, the IC3 received and processed 289,874 complaints, averaging more than 24,000 complaints per month. Unverified losses reported to IC3 rose 8.3% over the previous year. However, total complaints decreased from 2011.

"The 2012 Internet Crime Report reveals both the volume and the scope of Internet crime, as well as the efforts of IC3 and law enforcement to combat these crimes," said National White Collar Crime Center Director Don Brackman. "As technology continues to advance, so will our efforts to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals."

The most common complaints received in 2012 included FBI impersonation e-mail scams, various intimidation crimes, and scams that used computer "scareware" to extort money from Internet users.

"Criminals are increasingly migrating their fraudulent activities from the physical world to the Internet," said Richard A. McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch. "Computer users who suspect or become victims of online fraud schemes--including suspicious e-mails, fraudulent websites and Internet crimes--should report them to the IC3. The IC3 analyzes and makes connections among these reports and packages them for potential action by law enforcement."

Other highlights from the report were:

  • Adjusted dollar losses from online fraud totaled $525.44 billion, with 114,908 complaints reporting a loss. The median dollar loss for those reporting a loss was $600; the average dollar loss overall was $1,813; and the average dollar loss for those reporting  a loss was $4,573.
  • A trend in recent years indicates the number of complaints by gender is equalizing. In 2012, there were 149,601 male complaints (51.61%),  and 140,273 female complaints (48.39%).
  • Age groups that filed complaints were little changed last year, with under age 20 representing 3.24% of the complaints; 20-39 (39%); 40-59 (43%); and 60 and older (14%).
  • The top 10 states for victim complaints were: California (13.41%); Florida (7.98%); Texas (7.22%); New York (5.7%); New Jersey (3.81%); Pennsylvania (3.7%); Illinois (3.5%); Virginia (3.3%); Ohio (3.05%); and Washington (2.72%).
  • The top five countries by victim complaints were: the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and India.
  • The most common scams and total complaint numbers were: FBI impersonation e-mail scams--14,141 complaints; scareware/ransomware scams--1,969; and hit man/extortion scams (1,354).
IC3 is a partnership among the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
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