The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its 2009 Annual Internet Crime Report late last week. Complaints regarding online crime increased dramatically in the past year, experiencing a 22.3 percent increase over the previous year.
The IC3 received 336,655 complaints with an estimated total loss of $559.7 million, up by approximately $265 million from the previous year. Fraud that utilized the FBI’s name for advanced fee scams was the most prolific with non-payment or non-delivery coming in second.
“Law enforcement relies on the corporate sector and citizens to report when they encounter on-line suspicious activity so these schemes can be investigated and criminals can be arrested,” said Peter Trahon, Section Chief of the FBI’s Cyber Division. “Computer users are encouraged to have up-to-date security protection on their devices and evaluate email solicitations they receivewith a healthy skepticism—if something seems too good to be true, it likely is.”
Donald Brackman, Director of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) which partners with the FBI on IC3, said “The figures contained in this report indicate that criminals are continuing to take full advantage of the anonymity afforded them by the Internet. They are also developing increasingly sophisticated means of defrauding unsuspecting consumers. Internet crime is evolving in ways we couldn’t have imagined just five years ago.”
The 2009 Annual Report along with previous reports, can be downloaded here