Cybercrime on the Rise: Reported Losses over $550 million!

According to a new article in the Wall Street Journal, cybercrime has significantly risen 22.3% in 2009 from 2008. Identity thieves and white collar criminals have taken to the internet and caused over $550 million in reported losses. There were also over 60,000 more complaints of cybercrime in 2009. Many experts say the plummeting economy is responsible for the great rise last year.

The article goes on to discuss the new and more technologically savvy way that criminals are stealing our information.

Criminals’ tactics also are changing, with a growing number of crimes involving malicious applications installed on mobile devices and embedded in news and celebrity gossip Web sites. In this type of crime, Web criminals are using search-engine optimization to allow fake Web sites to rise to the top of searches. When users click on the links or pop-ups, malware or key loggers infect their computers, usually with the intent of hijacking personal and financial information such as bank passwords and account information. Scam artists also are switching from email to social-networking sites to perpetrate “phishing” scams designed to steal sensitive information from victims.

Top scams now include nondelivery of ordered merchandise, fraudulent emails claiming to be from the FBI seeking personal and financial information, identity theft, credit-card fraud, online auction fraud, and job and investment scams. Online auction fraud, which was a top complaint in the past, has declined and losses have fallen as awareness and auction-site security protections have improved, officials said.

In order to minimize your risk, share as little personal and identifying information on the internet as possible. The less that is out there, the less there is to steal. Verify web addresses and don’t click on unknown links or advertisements that come through on email and other sites. If you are the least bit suspicious don’t enter financial information onto the site!

John Sileo became one of America’s leading Social Networking Speakers & sought after Identity Theft Experts after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

1 reply
  1. Ulf Wolf
    Ulf Wolf says:

    Great post.

    Perhaps I can just add to this that the best way to guard against being ripped off by online sales or auctions of any kind, eBay inlcuded, is to use a bona fide online escrow company. Although it does add some cost, that will take uncertainty out of the transaction.

    Take care,

    Ulf Wolf

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