Web fraud losses more than double in 2009, says report

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Losses related to cybercrime more than doubled from 2008 to last year, according to a report from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The organization, a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI, received 336,655 complaints with a reported $559.7 million in losses. In 2008, IC3 received 275,284 reports with $265 million in reported losses.

Hoax emails claiming to be from the FBI, but which actually were created to steal personal information from the recipient, represented 16.6 percent of all complaints submitted. The next most common complaints were undelivered merchandise, followed by advance-fee schemes, identity theft and overpayment fraud.

Crooks attempted to perpetrate other email scams by leveraging hit man threats, astrology or the economy. Still others involved rogue anti-virus software.

Of all the grievances sent to IC3 last year, 146,663 were passed along to law enforcement for investigation. Most of those involved financial loss to the victim. Complaints not referred to authorities typically did not involve any monetary loss or were not appropriate for U.S.-based law enforcement to investigate.

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