Damages from online fraud jumped more than 20 percent, according to the latest data from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
In a report released on Thursday, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) found that the number of complaints decreased slightly, while damage from online fraud grew to $239 million in 2007, up from $198 million in 2006. The IC3, an online portal used by the FBI for receiving cybercrime complaints, processed almost 207,000 reports of criminal activity, a 0.6 percent decrease from 2006. The victims ranged in age from ten- to 100-years old.
"The Internet presents a wealth of opportunity for would-be criminals to prey on unsuspecting victims, and this report shows how extensive these types of crime have become," James E. Finch, assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division, said in a statement. "What this report does not show is how often this type of activity goes unreported."
While the media reports often on the crime of identity theft, the largest number of people, more than a third, complain about online auction fraud, the IC3 report stated. Other online crimes, such as industrial espionage by other nation states, largely go unreported. Earlier this month, the Council of Europe requested that Internet service providers help battle cybercrime by sharing information about their users.
More than 60 percent of complaints described two categories of crimes: online auction fraud and the non-delivery of goods ordered from merchants. The IC3 only referred a little more than 90,008 complaints to law enforcement, down from a peak of 104,000 referrals in 2004. Of those 90,008 complaints, only 72,226 involved victims who reported monetary losses, the report stated. The median dollar loss per complaint was $680.
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