US cybercrimes soar by 33% in 2008

According to the Centre, during 2008 it received 275 284 complaints
(up 33% from a year earlier) of cybercrime, computer hacking
incidents, spam and other online offences.

The net cost of cybercrime, says the Center, was an estimated $265 million (£180 m)- up 10% on 2007.

Delving into the report reveals that auction fraud was down from 28.6% in 2007 to 25.5% in 2008.

Ponzi schemes (Bernie Madoff take note), computer fraud, and cheque fraud complaints came to 19.5% of all IC3 complaints.

Overall, each fraud victim reported an average losses of $931.00.

Interestingly, around 74% of those who contacted authorities said they had communicated with the scam artists via e-mail.

Another fraud frequently reported to the IC3 in 2008 involved hackers who broke into personal e-mail accounts, allowing them to generate messages to known victims asking for money.

According to the Centre, the report, issued annually since 2003, offers a snapshot of the most frequent Internet crimes, where they are occurring, and who is being victimised.

Worldwide, perpetrators were most commonly from the US (66.1%), followed by the UK (10.5%), Nigeria (7.5%), and Canada (3.1%).

Commenting on the report, FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Shawn Henry says it illustrates that sophisticated computer fraud schemes continue to flourish as financial data migrates to the internet.

"It also underscores the need for continued vigilance on the part of law enforcement, businesses, and the home computer user to be aware of these schemes and employ sound security procedures," he noted.

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