Report: Cyber Crime, Scams Skyrocket 110% in 2009 to $559M

Dennis Faas's picture

The results are in: cyber crime and online scams were way, way up in 2009.  It's bad enough that the difference in losses between 2007 and 2008 was an increase of 11 percent (or roughly $265 million) -- but who would have guessed that difference between 2008 and 2009 would be double the previous year -- at an astounding $559 million?

Cyber Crime Success: Sophistication, Anonymity

According to an FBI-led taskforce, the cyber crime losses are the result of more sophisticated techniques employed by hackers during attacks. "The figures contained in this report indicate that criminals are continuing to take full advantage of the anonymity afforded them by the Internet," said Donald Brackman, director of the National White Collar Crime Center. (Source:

"They are also developing increasingly sophisticated means of defrauding unsuspecting consumers. Internet crime is evolving in ways we couldn't have imagined just five years ago."

The real problem with cyber crime is that only a small percentage of victims report their attacks to the proper authorities. Of the complaints reporting monetary loss that were referred to law enforcement, the average loss was estimated to be $5,580 and the median loss was $575.

Fake Antivirus, Fraudulent Auctions a Growing Problem

The "modus operandi" used by hackers are as numerous as the victims themselves.

Sales of fake anti-virus software remains one of the largest, fastest-growing problems and are often correlated with identity theft -- accounting for 14 percent of the total loss figures between 2008 and 2009.

Accounting for 19 percent of all losses was the non-delivery of items bought online, while credit card and auction fraud account for 10 percent.

Advance fee fraud, which typically involves a person wiring a large sum of money to an third party overseas (often heard about in the "Nigerian bank schemes") still remains a major problem, representing 9.8 percent of complaints. (Source:

FBI officials believe that increased consumer vigilance and education are key to combating these ever-increasing statistics.

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet