By Austin Modine in Mountain View
19th March 2007
Cyber-crime is alive and kicking in the USA, and playfully swimming
through its riches like Scrooge McDuck in a money vault, the FBI's
Internet Crime Complaint Center annual report  reveals today.
In 2006 US consumers filed 207,492 complaints about internet crime and
reported record losses of $198.4m. Online auction fraud, such as
receiving a different item than expected, topped the list, accounting
for 44.9 per cent of complaints. Undelivered merchandise and payments
were next in line, accounting for 19 per cent.
Greedy fools are still falling for the 419 scam (which the FBI calls
"Nigerian Letter Fraud"). On average, victims last year lost $5,100 a
pop to the countless princes of Nigeria, by sensibly moving their
Majesties' assets to the US.
Another notable email scam, with 115 complaints received last year, goes
straight for the jugular: the fraudster demands money in return for not
murdering  the recipient through a hired assassin.
Three-quarters of the offenders caught were male, half residing in
California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and
Tennessee. Most were located in the US although significant numbers were
located in the UK, Nigeria, Canada, Romania and Italy.
Some 61.2 per cent of complaints were filed by men, half of them aged
between 30 and 50. Men lost an average of $1.69 for every $1 reported by
women. Nearly 74 per cent of complainants were contacted through email
and 36 per cent through websites.
Here are some suggestions  from the FBI for avoiding internet crime -
to which we add the following: don't be a complete twit.
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