What Are the Biggest Internet Scams?

I came across this post on Locker Gnome about the biggest Internet scams of 2009. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 20% more complaints of internet scams in 2009 when compared to 2008. And guess what? Despite the notoriety of work at home scams, they weren’t the biggest category.

That doesn’t say anything about how bad work at home scams are, of course, just that they aren’t the most heavily reported type of fraud reported to IC3.

What is really amazing to me is that the dollar loss when up so significantly. In 2008, the dollar loss reported was $264.6 million. In 2009, it was $559.7 million. Rather a significant increase in dollars considering the complaints increased 20%. Some complainants lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while more than 20% lost less than $100.

The most heavily reported were email scams that mentioned the FBI, and this made up 16.6% of crime complaints. Non delivery of merchandise or payment was next at 11.9% of complaints.

Work at home scams certainly made the list of common scams reported to the IC3. While the report doesn’t specify numbers, it noted a wide range of work at home scams ranging from high pay job offers to survey scams to check cashing and money order scams.

The check cashing and money order scams I would say fall into the overpayment fraud categorization. This is hard to figure out until you get far enough into the report to see how they define everything. That would make them 7.3% of complaints. That’s pretty amazing to me to see just how widespread such fraud is.

An interesting one I hadn’t heard of is a survey scam where they ask for a photocopy of a payroll check in order to participate in a survey about employer/employee relationships. The interesting part about this one is that it is the employer who loses money, not the person sending in the copy of the check. The scammers use the account information on the photocopy to write fraudulent checks on the employer’s account.

The report overall is interesting, just to see how many kinds of internet scams there are. It’s easy for me to focus on the work at home scams, since that’s an area I work in. But there are many more scams online that it pays to be aware of.

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