Protect Yourself and Report the Latest Frauds, Scams, Spams, Fakes, Identify Theft Hacks and Hoaxes
Statistics regarding internet scams and frauds are presented here as a snapshot in time January 2009, but below are links to archived statistics from previous years. Web crime statistics are notoriously difficult to obtain, with many sources each calculating them in a different manner and different time frame, using a different source.
To provide the most reliable picture, we use the Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) statistics as a baseline. The IC3 began operation on May 8, 2000, as the Internet Fraud Complaint Center and was established as a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. These statistics have the advantage of the FBI's expertise, but the weakness of being 1 to 2 years out of date.
To overcome that we add our own tracking system statistics to update the FBI / IC3 statistics.
The statistics for the current Top 10 frauds and scams list can be found
below. A description of
these scams is on this page. The greatest challenge in assembling a list and
statistics of the frauds is that most fall into several categories. Consumers
may characterize crime problems with
an easier "broad" character, which may be misleading. For instance, a consumer
that gets lured to an auction site which appears to be eBay, may later find that
they were victimized through a cyber scheme. The scheme may in fact have
involved SPAM, unsolicited e-mail inviting them to a site, and a "spoofed"
website which only imitated the true legitimate site. The aforementioned crime
problem could be characterized as SPAM, phishing, possible identity theft,
credit card fraud or auction fraud. In such scenarios, many complainants have
depicted schemes such
as auction fraud even though that label may be incomplete or misleading.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center, in 2009 released its latest annual report on victims' complaints received and referred to law enforcement.
From January 1, 2008 – December 31, 2008, the IC3 website received 275,284 complaint submissions. This is a (33.1%) increase when compared to 2007 when 206,884 complaints were received. These filings were composed of complaints primarily related to fraudulent and non-fraudulent issues on the Internet.
These complaints were composed of many different fraud types such as auction
fraud, non-delivery, and credit/debit card fraud as well as non-fraudulent
complaints such as computer intrusions, spam/unsolicited e-mail, and child
pornography. All of these complaints are accessible to federal, state, and local
law enforcement to support active investigations, trend analysis, and public
outreach and awareness efforts.
From the submissions, IC3 referred 72,940 complaints of crime to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country for further consideration. The vast majority of cases were fraudulent in nature and involved a financial loss on the part of the complainant. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $264.6 million with a median dollar loss of $931.00 per complaint. This is up from $239.1 million in total reported losses in 2007.
Other significant findings related to an analysis of referrals include:
Of those complaints reporting a dollar loss, the highest median losses were found among
Amount Lost by Selected Fraud Type forIndividuals Reporting Monetary Loss
Percentage of Reported Total Loss
Of those who reported a loss the Average (median) $ Loss per Complaint
|Nigerian Letter Fraud||
|Non-delivery (merchandise and payment)||
|Credit/Debit Card Fraud||
For the full report, go to the IC3 webpage on statistics.
In 2008, that ranking has changed considerably - Lottery scams are number, followed by Auction scams, non delivery and check fraud.
The greatest concentration (per capita) of internet scammers in the United States are concentrated in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) and Nevada. By sheer numbers, California, NY and Florida take the top three positions, based on their population sizes.
Map 1- Top Ten States (Perpetrators)
Providing insight into the demographics of fraud perpetrators, in those cases with a reported location, over 75% of the perpetrators were male and over half resided in one of the following states: California, Florida, New York, Texas, District of Columbia, and Washington.
Globally, in 2008, most scammers operated from the United States. The U.S. still held a huge lead in active internet users then, a gap that has since closed considerably. In 2008, China and the U.S. each have approximately 200 million internet users, and most of the world has grow commensurately. As the user populations have grown abroad, so have their scammer populations. Several countries stand out in 2008 as have disproportionately huge populations of scammers: Nigeria, Romania, the Netherlands and China. Lottery and fake money transfer (AFF)frauds seem to be the specialty of the Nigerians. The United States still leads in Identity Theft and Phishing/Spoofing frauds.
These locations are among the most populous in the country. Controlling for population, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Washington, Montana, Florida, and Delaware have the highest per capita rate of perpetrators in the United States.
Map 2- Top Ten Countries By Count (Perpetrators)
Perpetrators also have been identified as residing in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Canada, Romania, and Italy. Inter-state and international boundaries are irrelevant to Internet criminals. Jurisdictional issues can enhance their criminal efforts by impeding investigations with multiple victims, multiple states/counties, and varying dollar losses.
listed by state