Online crime losses more than doubled during 2009, reaching $559.7 million, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). That compares with $265 million lost during 2008.
IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
Complaints involved fraud and nonfraud categories including auction fraud, nondelivery of merchandise fraud, credit card fraud, computer intrusions, spam/unsolicited e-mail, and child pornography, said IC3.
In 2009, IC3 implemented a new complaint classification system, separating complaints into 79 categories. This resulted in a number of changes to the way the system gathers the data and classifies complaint data.
Among the significant findings for 2009:
> E-mail scams that used the FBI's name to gain information represented 16.6% of all complaints submitted. Nondelivered merchandise and/or payment accounted for 11.9% of complaints, advance fee fraud made up 9.8%. Rounding out the top five categories were identity theft and overpayment fraud.
> Of the top five categories of offenses reported, nondelivered merchandise and/or payment ranked 19.9%, identity theft, 14.1%, credit card fraud, 10.4%, auction fraud, 10.3%, and computer fraud (destruction/damage/vandalism), 7.9%.
> Of the complaints involving financial harm and referred to law enforcement, the highest median dollar losses were found among investment fraud ($3,200), overpayment fraud ($2,500), and advance fee fraud ($1,500).
>Among complainants, 54% were male, nearly two-thirds were between the ages of 30 and 50, and more than one-third resided in either California, Florida, Texas or New York. Ninety-two percent of the complaints were from the U.S.
>Males lost more money than females. Men lost $1.51 to every $1 that women lost. Individuals who were between 40 and 49 years old on average lost more than other age groups.