FBI: Internet fraud complaints up 33 percent in 2008

With attackers becoming more sophisticated, Internet crime complaints have jumped

2008 was the busiest year yet for online fraudsters according to an annual Internet Crime Report released Monday by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) logged more than 275,000 complaints last year -- a jump of 33 percent from the year before -- accounting for about US$265 million dollars worth of losses, according to the center's 2008 Internet Crime Report.

Complaints to the IC3 had been dropping since 2005, but last year broke the previous record of 231,000. The median dollar loss per complaint was $931. In 2007 it was $680.

The jump in complaints isn't surprising. Computer security experts say that 2008 was a watershed year for cybercriminals as they perfected their techniques, building automated "SQL Injection" programs that could quickly place malicious attack code on thousands of Web sites, and running massive networks of botnet computers that could be used to steal sensitive information and infect other computers.

As in previous years, online auction fraud and nondelivery of merchandise accounted for more than half of the complaints, although auction-fraud complaints dropped more than 10 percentage points from 2007 levels.

Credit and debit card complaints were up in a year when two major payment card processors - Heartland Payment Systems and RBS WorldPay were hacked.

In 2007, credit and payment card fraud made up 6.3 percent of complaints. Last year, with even more complaints on the books, this kind of crime accounted for 9 percent of the total.

Most fraudsters use e-mail to reach their marks, and spam designed to steal sensitive financial information was "one of the more significant scams" the IC3 saw last year.

In one new scam, the criminals sent messages doctored to look as though it had come from the FBI, asking for bank account information in order to help with a financial investigation.

"Many of these e-mails also contain an element of extortion," the IC3 report states. "Recipients are told that if they do not comply with the FBI's request for information they will be prosecuted."

In another widespread scam, the criminals would hack into a victim's e-mail account and then send out messages to friends, claiming that they were stranded in Nigeria or some other foreign country and needed some quick cash to get out of a jam.

The IC3 data comes from the cybercrime victims themselves. It is then shared with law enforcement and regulatory agencies that use it to get a track on crime trends and to prosecute criminals.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags fraudcybercrimefbi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?