The Latest Online Fraud Statistics Revealed
Criminals are turning to the internet for their next big score. According to online fraud statistics, they seem to be successful!
Take a look at these alarming statistics and consider implementing online fraud prevention techniques to keep yourself – and your finances – safe.
2012 Online Fraud Statistics
Each year, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) releases their annual report on internet fraud. Below are some of the most notable statistics.
- In 2012, IC3 received and process 289,874 complaints (more than 24,000 per month).
- Of all the complaints, nearly 40% reported financial loss.
- The total loss reported for all victims was $525,441,110 (an 8.3% increase from 2011).
- The average amount of money lost was $4,573.
- On the whole, the majority of victims filing a complaint were male (52%).
- The majority of victims fell in the 40-59 age range (43%).
- The top five states that reported fraud were California, Florida, Texas, New York and New Jersey.
Online Fraud Prevention is Essential
As the above mentioned online fraud statistics show, criminals come in all shapes and sizes. Scams can affect just about anyone. Fraud attempts can be subtle or blatant. But no matter how the fraud is disguised, you must work to identify, prevent and report it.
According to the IC3 report, these were the most common types of online fraud:
- FBI impersonation emails
- Intimidation crimes
- Scams that used computer “scareware” to extort money
Because fraud can be so sneaky, it is important to implement online fraud prevention practices before you become a victim.
Best Online Fraud Prevention Techniques
Here are 14 tips that will help you avoid online fraudsters.
- Don’t open emails from people you don’t know.
- Never open email attachments if you don’t know the sender.
- Don’t click on a link that is included in the email body if you question the identity of the sender.
- If you doubt the authenticity of the email or the identity of the person mailing you, don’t reply.
- Beware of sites that offer prizes or discounts. This is especially true if they ask you to redeem your winnings with a username and password. Most people use the same username and password for the majority of their accounts. Fraudsters will take that information and try to access your other accounts.
- Check your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly. If you note unusual activity, report it immediately.
- Change all your online passwords every 60 days. This includes email, social media, online banking, etc.
- Always choose complex passwords (ones that are more than six characters long and include a combination of letters, numbers and/or symbols).
- Note that fraudulent emails or websites often have misspelled words and grammar errors.
- Make sure your anti-virus software is always up-to-date.
- Don’t let anyone pressure you into taking action quickly. A fraudster might tell you something like, “You need to upgrade immediately or we are going to terminate your account.”
- Don’t share personal or financial information via email.
- Don’t use mobile devices for online banking or online shopping.
- Only shop on sites that use credit card protection features like CVV, AVS, Verified by Visa, etc.
Take Action Against Fraudsters
If you do become a victim of online fraud, it is important to take action right away. Not only will this help you protect your own identity, finances and assets, it will help others stay safe too.
There are various agencies you can contact, depending on the severity of the fraud – IC3, the FBI, local police, and the attorney general of your state are just a few.
eConsumer Services® can help you with tasks like securing a credit card refund if your account was used fraudulently. ECS also has tips on how to report a scam if you are unable to determine the appropriate agency to contact.
Don’t let yourself become just one more number in next year’s online fraud statistics. Implement online fraud prevention techniques now and keep those criminals away!