Crime UK rises in world internet ranks

Saturday 5th April 2008
Internet crime and theft: Courtesy:

Global Secure Systems (GSS), the leading IT security consultancy, says the release this week of the 2007 Internet Crime Report by the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) in the US shows that the UK is now catching up with the US in being a hotbed of cybercrime.

"It's significant to note that, despite the fact that the IC3 study is supposedly a national US annual report, it concludes that the UK is in second position with 15.3% when it comes to the origin of US Internet crime reports," said David Hobson, MD GSS's. "This is significantly ahead of other cybercrime hotspots such as Nigeria (5.7 %) and Romania (1.5 %). It's also worth noting that Internet crime in the US hit an all-time high in 2007, with an almost 20% increase on the fraud reported in 2006," he added.
According to Hobson, reported Internet crime losses are only the tip of the cybercrime iceberg, as there are many more cases that go unreported for various reasons.
"This national US report should act as a wake-up call to any company that is failing to securely protect its IT resources. Organised criminal gangs are now commonplace on the Internet and they are after your company's money. How they achieve their fraud is irrelevant. If they can find a way in, they will," he said.
"The IC3 referred 90,008 complaints of crime to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies across the US. That's around one complaint every six minutes throughout the year, day and night. If that statistic doesn't make a company IT manager sit up and take note, I don't know what will," he added.

The report
Internet crime resulted in nearly $240 million in reported losses in 2007, a $40 million increase over reported losses in 2006, according to the 2007 Internet Crime Report, issued today by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

During 2007, Internet auction fraud was by far the most reported offense, comprising 35.7% of referred crime complaints. That number was a 20.5% decrease from the 2006 levels of auction fraud reported to IC3. In addition, during 2007, the non-delivery of merchandise and/or payment represented 24.9% of complaints (up 31.1% from 2006). Confidence fraud made up an additional 6.7% of complaints. Credit and debit card fraud, check fraud, and computer fraud complaints represented 17.6% of all referred complaints. Other complaint categories such as identity theft, financial institutions fraud, threats, and Nigerian letter fraud complaints together represented less than 8.3% of all complaints.

Since the group started issuing its annual report, Internet crime costs have soared from $17.8 million in 2001 to the $240 million last year.

IC3 referred 90,008 complaints of crime to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country for further consideration. The vast majority of cases referred alleged fraud and involved a financial loss on the part of the complainant. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $239.09 million with a median dollar loss of $680.00 per complaint. This was an increase from $198.44 million in total reported losses in 2006.

The report notes a number of interesting facts, among them:

  •           Top 10 cybercrime states: California 15.8%, Florida 10.1%, New York 9.9%, Texas 7.0%, Illinois 3.6%, Pennsylvania 3.5%, Georgia 3.1%, Ohio 2.8%, Washington 2.8%, New Jersey 2.8%.
  •          Top 10 cybercrime countries: United States 63.2%, United Kingdom 15.3%, Nigeria 5.7%, Canada 5.6%, Romania 1.5%, Italy 1.3%, Spain 0.9%, South Africa 0.9%, Russia 0.8%, Ghana 0.7%  Perpetrators were predominantly male (75.8%) and half resided in one of the following states: California, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia. The majority of reported perpetrators were from the US. However, a significant number of perpetrators also were located in UK, Nigeria, Canada, Romania, and Italy.
  •          Among complainants, 57.6% were male, nearly half were between the ages of 30 and 50 and one-third resided in one of the four most populated states: California, Florida, Texas, and New York. While most were from the United States, IC3 received a number of complaints from Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Mexico.
  •          Male complainants lost more money than females (ratio of $1.67 to every $1.00 lost per female). This may be a function of both online purchasing differences by gender and the type of fraudulent schemes by which the individuals were victimsed.
  •          Electronic mail (e-mail) (73.6%) and web pages (32.7%) were the two primary mechanisms by which the fraudulent contact took place.
  •         Recent high activity scams commonly reported to the IC3 in 2007 were those involving pets, cheques, spam, and online dating sites, all of which have proven effective as criminal devices in the hands of fraudsters.


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