Cybercrime: IC3 2010 Annual Report on Internet Crime Hits the Web

[caption id="attachment_343" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The latest IC3 Internet Crime Report makes for interesting reading"]The latest IC3 Internet Crime Report makes for interesting reading[/caption]

Last week, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its annual report on Internet crime for 2010. You can download a
summary for the whole country, or visit the Annual Reports page to grab a version for your home state (all reports are in PDF format). This represents the tenth year that this organization, a joint project between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), has published an annual report. It's worth reading in its entirety, but that doesn't mean we can't share some highlights with you:

  • 2010 saw the IC3 fielding the second highest number of complaints in its 10-year history. 2010 also witnessed the filing of the two millionth complaint at the IC3, with an average montly volume of 25,000 complaints for this year (303,809 complaints in all were received in 2010, of which more than one third, 121,710, were referred to law enforcement).

  • The IC3 is a conduit for law enforcement as well as a complaint-fielding organization. The FBI, the NW3C, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provide resources to aid law enforcement in every aspect and detail involved in handling Internet fraud complaints. "Expert IC3 analysts also provide key analytical and case support."

  • For 2010, the leading victim complaints were for non-delivery of payment (from sellers) and merchandise (from buyers), scams impersonating the FBI, and identity theft. Overall, victims of the crimes mentioned in these complaints reported losing "hundreds of millions of dollars."

  • 2009 saw the introduction of ICSIS (Internet Complaint Search and Investigation) service at NW3C, used to "foster... seamless collaboration among law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions."

  • In 2010, IC3 analysts prepared 1,420 cases covering 42,808 complaints. Law enforcement prepared 698 cases (representing 4,015 complaints). Law enforcement requested FBI support on 598 crime matters. Among FBI referrals, 122 open investigations were conducted, resulting in 31 arrests, 6 convictions, 17 grand jury subpoenas, and 55 search/seizure warrants.

  • Auction fraud is down from its historically high levels (up to 71.2% of complaints) to just over 10% of referrals for 2010. Increasingly, the IC3 reports "growing diversification of crimes related to the Internet."

Here are some charts from the 2010 Annual Report on Internet Crime (clipped from page 7 of the report):

[caption id="attachment_344" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Graphs of yearly complaints and law enforcement referrals at IC3"]Graphs of yearly complaints and law enforcement referrals at IC3[/caption]

Despite our earlier predictions that we'd see an increase from 2009 to 2010, the number are down instead: roughly 10% for the number of complaints received, and 17% for the number of law enforcement referrals made. We can only hope this indicates a trend that shows a decline in Internet crime rates!

Stu Sjouwerman


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