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Cyber-Criminals Grabbed Over $500 Million Last Year, FBI Complaints Show

Cyber criminals stole more than $500 million last year, according to the latest IC3 study based on reported incidents. In 2012, the organization received almost 300,000 complaints, an average of more than 24,000 a month. Compared to the previous year, losses by users tricked over the Internet increased by 8.3 percent.

Cyber criminals stole more than $500 million last year, according to the latest IC3 study based on reported incidents. In 2012, the organization received almost 300,000 complaints, an average of more than 24,000 a month.Almost half of the complaints reported financial losses, and most of the users bilked last year were 40 to 59 years old. The average reported dollar loss for those reporting a loss was $4,573, while the average loss overall per complaint was $1,813. Some 91 percent of the complaints came from the US. The top three states scammed last year included California, Florida and Texas.

“Criminals are increasingly migrating their fraudulent activities from the physical world to the Internet,” Richard A. McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, said.

“Computer users who suspect or become victims of online fraud schemes — including suspicious e-mails, fraudulent Web sites and Internet crimes — should report them to the IC3. The IC3 analyzes and makes connections among these reports and packages them for potential action by law enforcement.”

The most popular scams last year were related to FBI impersonation e-mails, intimidation crimes, and scams that delivered scareware to extort money. One of the most effective was Citadel, which delivered the Reveton ransomware. Once the malware was installed, the user’s computer froze and he was accused of violating U.S. federal law against child pornography.

In November last year, Bitdefender provided a free removal tool for the “piracy” Trojan. The malware infected millions of users worldwide with a fake police message accusing them of piracy.

About The Author

Security Specialist

Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who’s always on to a cybertrendy story. She’s the industry news guru, who’ll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.

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