Two Million Online Fraud Complaints – And Growing

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

On November 9th the 2 millionth complaint alleging online fraud was filed at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

After taking 7 years to hit the 1 million complaint level on

June 11, 2007, second million complaints took just over 40 months.

The IC3 receives, develops, and refers cyber crime complaints to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies. The IC3 gives cyber crime victims a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.

Since its inception, the IC3 has referred 757,016 criminal complaints to law enforcement around the globe. The majority of referrals involved fraud in which the complainant incurred a financial loss. The total reported loss from these referrals is approximately $1.7 billion, with a median reported loss of more than $500 per complaint.*

Many complaints involved identity theft, such as loss of personally identifying data, and the unauthorized use of credit cards or bank accounts. The IC3 uses information from the complaints to detect emerging trends and proactively fight consumer victimization through educational efforts with project partners, various publications and the consumer education website,


For more information read this press release at:

In a related release a joint agency fraud alert was issued for small to medium businesses about account takeovers.

These small businesses can have a lot of cash intheir accounts and lack the controls the larger businesses have to prevent fraud.

The Advisory recounts that “[o]nce the account is compromised, the cyber criminal is able to electronically steal money from business accounts. Cyber criminals also use various attack methods to exploit check archiving and verification services that enable them to issue counterfeit checks, impersonate the customer over the phone to arrange funds transfers, mimic legitimate communication from the financial institution to verify transactions, create unauthorized wire transfers and ACH payments, or initiate other changes to the account.”

For SMB’s lacking sophisticated tech security, or whose existing procedures may fall short in the current threat environment, the Advisory provides a useful basic primer on “How it’s Done” that recounts the most frequently successful steps in cybertheft attacks. Cyberthefts have risen dramatically in the past two years because they offer a high reward, low risk venture, as SMBs generally have more of cash on hand than individuals, but less robust security than larger companies

Banks need to be more alert that ever on the impact of fraud and the possibility that excessive fraud can have a chilling effect both on the growth of online services as well as the fragile trust that is essential between individuals and their businesses.

For more information read this press release at:

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