written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 8/23/2010
A look at how electronic crime impacts people and economies.
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Any crime committed via the internet is a cyber crime. Most cyber crimes cannot be placed into a single category, thus making cyber crime statistics difficult to compile. The Internet Crime Complaint Center compiles and releases annual reports on the statistics and cyber crime facts. Both the statistics and facts are used to analyze and examine cyber crime growth. Knowing the facts, growth, and trends is essential to fighting cyber crime and creating the tools and techniques necessary to prevent it.
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Top 10 Cyber Crime Complaint Categories
Upon analyzing cyber crime complaints, investigators determined the top ten cyber crimes based on the total number of complaints received. These include (in order of most complaints to least complaints):
Non-delivery (paying for merchandise online, but not receiving it)
Debit/credit card fraud
Confidence fraud (also referred to as advance fee fraud, and includes crimes like the Nigerian letter scam)
Nigerian letter fraud
Financial institutions fraud
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Average Monetary Loss Per Fraud Complaint
Part of compiling cyber crime facts is looking at the monetary loss involved. With fraud being the most commonly committed cyber crime, looking at the average monetary loss gives us a glimpse into the significance of this type of crime. The average monetary loss per complaint:
Debit/credit card fraud: $223.00
Auction fraud: $610.00
Non-delivery (merchandise and payment): $800.00
Computer fraud: $1,000.00
Nigerian letter fraud: $1,650.00
Confidence fraud: $2,000.00
Check fraud: $3,000.00
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Perpetrator Statistics and Facts
Through examining cyber crime growth, investigators found trends among perpetrators. They discovered that in 2008, 77.4 percent of those who committed cyber crimes were male. 50 percent lived in one of these states:
District of Columbia
66.1 percent of cyber criminals resided in the United States, however, a significant number of those criminals also resided in:
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Complainant Statistics and Facts
Just as the perpetrators were analyzed, so were the complainants in order to try and find trends. The following cyber crime facts and trends were discovered among complainants:
55.4 percent of complainants were male.
92.4 percent of the complainants resided in the United States, but a number of complaints also came from Australia, Canada, France, India, and the United Kingdom.
The two main modes of fraudulent contact were web pages (28.9 percent) and email (74 percent).
Almost half of all complainants were between thirty and fifty years of age and one-third lived in one of the states in the US with the highest populations: California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
Male complainants lost more money than female complainants with a ratio of males losing $1.69 to every $1.00 lost per female. It is thought that males lost more, and were victimized more often, due to the gender differences in online purchasing and by the type of fraudulent schemes.