2009 was a banner year for Internet scammers, according to a report released by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Complaints more than doubled to 146,663 and the value of losses exceeded half a billion dollars. I'm certain that these numbers are only a small portion of the real figures, limited by the public's lack of awareness of who to contact when they are scammed online.
The study reveals some interesting trends in online theft. The most common type of scams?
Non-delivery of merchandise/payments: 11.9%
Advance fee fraud: 9.8%
Identity theft: 8.2%
Overpayment fraud: 7.3%