The last booming business? Internet thieves run a $265 million industry


Complaints of online ripoffs rose to more than 275,000 in 2008, a 33% increase over 2007, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported. Victims reported losing $264.6 million -- up from $239.1 million. And, officials said, 2009 is shaping up as even worse.

Officials who prepared the report say the economy is in part to blame, with more people seeking opportunities at the same time more people are trying to take advantage of them -- a "perfect storm" of victim and perpetrator brought together by technology.