Internet Fraud Statistics and Facts
The Internet provides a global network of communication and also a venue for deceptive marketing and advertising. From advertisers selling you cheap Viagra, to scammers promising you Nigerian Money Offers, to being announced the monthly winner of a foreign Lottery Club. You may wonder what made the top ten 2006 list of Internet scams.
The top ten Internet scams as listed by the National Consumers League’s (NCL) Fraud Center, in 2006 included:
- Online Auctions: Misrepresented or undelivered goods
- General Merchandise: Misrepresented or undelivered goods not purchased through auctions
- Fake Check Scams: Consumers used fake checks to pay for sold items, and asked to have the money wired back
- Nigerian Money Offers: Deceptive promises of large sums of money, if consumers agreed to pay the transfer fee
- Lotteries: Asking winners to pay before claiming their non-existent prize
- Advance Fee Loans: Request a fee from consumers in exchange of promised personal loans
- Phishing: Emails pretending to represent a credible source, ask consumers for their personal information (e.g. credit card number)
- Prizes/Sweepstakes: Request a payment from consumers in order for them to claim their non-existent prize
- Internet Access Services: Misrepresentation of the cost of Internet access and other services, which are often not provided
- Investments: False promises of gains on investments
Statistics on Internet Fraud
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a joint venture of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, in 2007 found:
- Online auction fraud was the most reported type of fraud and accounted for 44.9% of consumers’ complaints
- Non-delivered merchandise and/or payment made up 19.0% of complaints
- Check fraud represented 4.9% of complaints
- About 70% of the fraud victims were scammed through www (e.g. online auctions)
- About 30% of the victims were scammed by emails
Top methods of payment used by victims of Internet fraud include:
- Credit Card
- Bank Debit
- Money Order
The average loss for all Internet frauds was $1,500. More than half of these losses occurred through auctions. So protect yourself from becoming the next victim of an auction fraud. Read the tips on how to prevent auction frauds from happening to you.
Tips on How to Prevent Auction Frauds
- Learn as much as you can from the seller
- Read and examine the feedback on the seller
- Check the location of the seller. If the seller is abroad and a problem arises it will be harder to solve.
- Ask if shipping and delivery are included in the auction price. So you receive no unexpected or additional costs.
- Refuse to give the seller your social security number or driver’s license number to prevent identity theft.