Home > Identity Theft > FBI Says White Collar Cyber Crime Tops 300,000 in ’10

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has just revealed some interesting statistics on a burgeoning headache — white-collar Internet crime. Whether its fraudsters impersonating FBI agents or cyber-hackers stealing consumer financial data, the Bureau has its hands full — and is asking the public for help.

The numbers come from the FBI’s 2010 Internet Crime Report, compiled from the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Since the IC3 began recording cyber-theft 10 years ago, the agency arm says that it’s received two million complaints on white-collar Internet crime. In 2010 alone, the FBI received 300,000 complaints – about 25,000 per month.

[Consumer Resource: Understand Your Exposure to Identity Theft with the Identity Risk Score]

The IC3 report says that impersonators acting as FBI agents, non-payment of items ordered on the Internet, and identity theft were the most common complaints filed by the agency. The rest of the “Top Ten” included computer crimes, miscellaneous fraud, advance fee fraud, spam, auction fraud, credit card fraud and overpayment fraud. The report also listed some of the “newer” forms of Internet crimes:

  • Telephone calls claiming victims are delinquent on payday loans.
  • Online apartment, house rental and real estate scams used to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars.
  • Denial-of-service attacks on cell phones and landlines used as a ruse to access victims’ bank accounts.
  • Fake e-mails seeking donations to disaster relief efforts after last year’s earthquake in Haiti.

The Bureau also has some advice on how consumers can thwart web-based white-collar crime – and it’s all about awareness and preparation. “Because there are so many variations of Internet scams out there, we can’t possibly warn against every single one,” the report states. “But we do recommend this: practice good security—make sure your computer is outfitted with the latest security software, protect your personal identification information, and be highly suspicious if someone offers you an online deal that’s too good to be true.”

[Consumer Resource: 12 Tips for Protecting Your Identity]

The FBI says that even if you suspect you’ve been a victim of a cyber-crime – it uses an Internet scammer targeting campaign as an example – report it to the FBI. Says the Bureau, “Whether or not it’s referred to law enforcement, your information is vital in helping the IC3 paint a fuller picture of Internet crime.”

Photo by cliff1066™, via Flickr

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