19 October 2003

Internet Fraud Complaints Rising

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Internet Fraud Complaints Rising
Auction fraud the most common complaint

Fraud on the Internet rose sharply in 2002, with the FBI reporting more than 48,000 complaints referred to prosecutors. That's triple the number of the year before.

By far, the most common complaint was auction fraud, followed by non-delivery of promised merchandise, credit card fraud and fake investments, according to the report from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, run by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center based in Richmond, Virginia.

The total dollar loss of Internet fraud reported to the center in 2002 was $54 million, compared with $17 million the year before. The 48,252 complaints referred for prosecution were far more than the 16,755 such complaints referred in 2001, but they still represent only a fraction of the crimes authorities believe are occurring.

The center also received almost 37,000 other complaints in 2002 that did not constitute fraud but involved such things as unsolicited e-mail or SPAM, illegal child pornography and computer intrusions.

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