IDG News Service - Last year was a tough one for most businesses, but for cybercriminals it was one of the best yet.
According to data released Friday by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), victims reported total losses of US$559.7 million in 2009, more than double the tally for 2008.
The most frequently reported scam was one that used the FBI's own name to try and trick victims into handing over cash or sensitive information. One such scam involved an e-mail claiming to be from FBI Deputy Director John Pistole. Here the scammers tried to trick people into paying bogus fees in order to receive an even larger sum of money, a payout that never arrives.
FBI -themed scams accounted for 16.6 percent of the 336,655 complaints that the IC3 received last year.
Total complaints for 2009 were up 22.3 percent from the previous year, when victims posted 257,284 complaints and registered $265 million in losses.
Other common scams involved the non-delivery of merchandise or payments -- a common form of fraud on online marketplaces such as eBay -- advance-fee fraud similar to the John Pistole scam, and identity theft. Fake antivirus software was also common in 2009, the FBI said.
Its report also talks about a few bizarre scams.
Some victims reported getting e-mail from someone claiming to be a hitman hired to assassinate them. The hitman offers to cancel the job if the victim sends $800 to the U.K. within 72 hours.
In another scam, Web surfers have reported bogus pop-up messages that promise free astrological readings. "The victim must provide his/her birth date and birth location to receive a free reading," the IC3 report says. "After receiving the reading, the victim is enticed to purchase a full reading with the promise that something favorable is about to happen."
Instead of good news, however, the victim gets only silence as the promised horoscope never materializes.
- University of North Florida breach exposes data on 107,000 individuals
- Zeus Trojan bust reveals sophisticated 'money mules' operation in U.S.
- GAO slams White House for failing to lead on cybersecurity
- Man charged with attack on Web site of Fox News' Bill O'Reilly
- Heartland breach expenses pegged at $140M -- so far
- IT contractor gets five years for $2M credit union theft
- Democracy would suffer if Google left China, says MIT panel
- Gonzalez accomplice gets five years for hacking TJX
- Threat of cyberattacks from overseas high, federal IT execs say
- Botnets 'the Swiss Army knife of attack tools'
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready?
- Read "Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready?" now, and discover best practices and actionable steps to implementing a production-ready big data solution.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results
- Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup... All Government IT White Papers
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- All Government IT Webcasts