Non-delivery of payment or merchandise. Scams impersonating the FBI. Identity theft.
These were the top three most common complaints made to the joint FBI/National White Collar Crime Center’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) last year, according to its 2010 Internet Crime Report The report also includes a state-by-state breakdown of complaints.
Last year, the IC3 received more than 300,000 complaints, averaging more than 25,000 a month. About 170,000 complaints that met specific investigative criteria—such as certain financial thresholds—were referred to the appropriate local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies. But even the complaints not referred to law enforcement, including those where no financial losses had occurred, were valuable pieces of information analyzed and used for intelligence reports and to help identify emerging fraud trends.
Additional highlights from the report include:
- Most victims filing complaints were from the U.S., male, between 40 and 59 years old, and residents of California, Florida, Texas, or New York. Most international complainants were from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, or India.
- In cases where perpetrator information was available, nearly 75 percent were men and more than half resided in California, Florida, New York, Texas, the District of Columbia, or Washington state. The highest numbers of perpetrators outside this country were from the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Canada.
- After non-delivery of payment/merchandise, scams impersonating the FBI, and identity theft, rounding out the top 10 crime types were: computer crimes, miscellaneous fraud, advance fee fraud, spam, auction fraud, credit card fraud, and overpayment fraud.
The report also contained information on some of the alerts sent out by the IC3 during 2010 in response to new scams or to an increase in established scams, including those involving:
- Telephone calls claiming victims are delinquent on payday loans.
- Online apartment and 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.