Amid Rising Losses to Internet Scams, Men Are More Likely Duped, Report Finds
WASHINGTON -- Women may make less than men on average, but they give less to cybercrooks, too, according to a new report.
Male complainants lost $1.67 to every $1 lost by female complainants reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center last year, according to the 2007 Internet Crime Report issued by the organization last week.
The center said it received a total of 206,884 complaints of crimes perpetrated online in 2007 and that some 90,000 were referred to law enforcement, about 72,000 of which involved monetary loss. The most complaints received since it began the reports in 2001 totaled 231,493 in 2005.
However, the total reported monetary loss in 2007 was nearly $240 million, a $40 million increase over 2006 and a new record, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a joint operation of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (www.nwc3.org).
The new report said 57.6% of those filing complaints were male and about half were between the ages of 30 and 50. E-mail was the fraudsters' channel of choice in three-fourths of the complaints, with about 24% through Web sites.
Auction and nondelivery fraud accounted for 60% of the complaints, the report said. Check and card fraud complaints were about 12% of the total and identity theft accounted for 2.9%. Financial institution fraud complaints were 2.7% of the total.
The White Collar Crime Center makes its complaints available to local, state and federal law enforcement to aid in investigations, analysis and public awareness.
"The Internet presents a wealth of opportunity for would-be criminals to prey on unsuspecting victims, and this report shows how extensive these types of crime have become," said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James E. Finch.
"What this report does not show is how often this type of activity goes unreported. Filing a complaint through IC3 is the best way to alert law enforcement authorities of Internet crime," Finch said.
The four most-populated states--California, Florida, Texas and New York--accounted for one-third of the total complainants. Others came from across the country as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, India and Mexico.
Investment fraud accounted for the most lost per complaint--$3,548--while credit/debit fraud accounted for the least--$298 per complaint.
As for the difference in male and female average losses, the report said, "This may be a function of both online purchasing differences by gender and the type of fraudulent schemes by which the individuals were victimized."
Most of the crooks were men, the report added.
"Perpetrators were predominantly male (75.8%) and half resided in one of the following states: California, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia," the report said. Other perpetrators were from the United Kingdom, Canada, Romania, Italy and Nigeria.
"Recent high-activity scams commonly reported to the IC3 in 2007 were those involving pets, checks, spam and online dating sites, all of which have proven effective as criminal devices in the hands of fraudsters," the report said.
And Nigerian letter writers even found willing recipients--who accounted for 1.1% of the total complaints and averaging $1,923 per reported individual loss.
The 28-page report is available at www.ic3.gov/media/annualreports.aspx.