The Internet Crime Complaint Center published its annual Internet Crime Report earlier this month. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Some of the numbers in the report this year are just stunning.
While the number of complaints of cybercrime filed with IC3 increased 22% in 2009 compared to 2008, the total dollar losses increased a staggering 111% after four years of being relatively flat.
Annual Cybercrime Losses
The other thing I found surprising in the report is that #1 scam type in 2009 were "FBI" related. What this means is that they involved cybercriminals attempting to defraud consumers by impersonating an FBI official. Fully one sixth of all reported complaints fell into this category. I think this only proves that the cybercriminal element isn't a lot brighter than their terrestrial equivalent. Impersonating a federal employee of any kind is punishable by up to three years in a federal penitentiary even if no other crime is committed. It seems to me that the prudent criminal would avoid committing a crime at LEAST until some victim coughs up some money.
The only good news I could find in the report is that the vast majority of losses involved relatively small amounts of money. It's the sheer volume of them that drives the total loss number so high.
Average Cybercrime Losses per Incident