The Internet Crime Complaint Center received 314,246 complaints in 2011, which totaled over $485 million in reported losses. As of 2011, the IC3 received more complaints in one month than it did in its first six months upon its 2000 establishment. There are various types of cyber crime, which deviate in severity and personal risk.
According to the IC3 Internet Crime Report, in 2011, FBI-related scams were the most reported offense with over 35,700 documented cases. FBI scams are defined as when someone poses as an FBI agent over the Internet in an effort to defraud victims. For example, a thief may use the name of a high-ranking official to gain personal information. In 2011, victims from FBI scams reported an average loss of $245 per complaint.
According to the IC3's Crime Report, there were almost 29,000 identity theft cases in 2011. These crimes consisted of a thief using a victim's personal information to access bank accounts and use credit cards, potentially making charges and withdrawing cash at the victim's expense. Thieves may also steal Social Security numbers to commit fraud or other crimes posing as someone other than themselves. Identity theft is often difficult to detect because victims may not know how someone accessed their personal information. However, it can be costly, potentially robbing victims of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Advance Fee Fraud
An advance-fee fraud is when a criminal convinces someone to pay in advance for a service or product but never delivers it. For example, a typical scam might consist of informing a potential victim that he's won a prize on the condition that he pay a small up-front charge, only to never deliver the prize. According to the IC3's Internet Crime Report, about 28,000 advance-fee fraud cases were filed in 2011. Similarly, a non-auction or non-delivery of merchandise fraud consists of someone not getting the goods for which he paid. The IC3 says that about 22,400 such cases were reported in 2011.
Other Financial Cyber Crimes
There are several other types of cyber crime, such as overpayment fraud - where victims receive an invalid check with directions to deposit it in their bank account. After completing, the thief now has the victim's banking information. Internet website hacking, work-from-home scams, auto-auction fraud and romance scams are other types of cyber crime. For instance, auto auction fraud results when a criminal attempts to sell a vehicle he don't own - the IC3 states this type of crime was responsible for $8.2 million worth of reported losses in 2011.
Other Serious Cyber Crimes
It isn't just financial motives behind cyber crime -- there are various other types of cyber crime that are just as harmful, such as cyberbullying, child sexual exploitation and hacking. Cyberbullying occurs when adolescents bully their peers via cell phones or computers. It's estimated by the Cyberbullying Research Center that, as of 2012, as many as 40 percent of adolescents are cyberbullied. Other types of common non-financial cyber crimes are child sexual exploitation, which is online activity associated with child pornography, and cyber stalking, which is when a person is harassed online. Additionally, cyber crooks attempt to hack networks or infect businesses and organizations with harmful worms and viruses to either gain information or corrupt an organization.
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