The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its 2012 annual report today, and the numbers are not pretty. The total number of complaints filed with the federal group was 289,874, which is up from 2011. Just under half of those reported actually losing money, an average of $4,573 per complaint or a total of $525,441,110.
The IC3, a joint project of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center, has been tracking Internet fraud and crime in the United States for 13 years (Canada uses IC3 as a model for its own program, as do the United Kingdom and Germany).
In 2012, the top types of Internet fraud had to do with auto sales, email scams that impersonate the FBI, intimidation/extortion (including threatening emails and “the grandparent scam”), “scareware,” real estate fraud, and romance scams. One of the most frightening is the “hit man scam,” in which the scam artist pretends to be a hit man hired to kill the intended victim unless they pay a fee. While it has not resulted in any deaths or even large monetary losses, the scam keeps resurfacing based on the latest news, using the names of terrorists groups or mentioning words like “Jihad” for additional intimidation.
For more information:
Read the full IC3 Annual Report
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