Web Crime Complaints Drop YOY, Up in Decade

March 10, 2011

crimecomplaintcenter-crime-trend-2000-2010-mar11.gifComplaints of internet crime were down year-over-year in 2010 but up substantially from 2007, according to a new study from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Data from the “2010 Internet Crime Report” indicates that the IC3 received 303,809 internet crime complaints via its website in 2010, down about 10% from 336,665 in 2009.

Internet Crime Rises Substantially from Earlier in Decade

However, this figure is up almost 47% from 206,884 in 2007 and about 10% from 275,284 in 2008. To give perspective on the growth of internet crime in the past decade, IC3 received just 16,838 online complaints in 2000. This means complaints of internet crime grew close to 1,800% during 10 years. In a sign of what was to come, complaints roughly tripled to 50,412 in 2001.

In a small sign of encouragement, 2010 marks the first decline in complaints since they fell by less than 1,000 between 2006 and 2007.

Non-Delivery Top Complaint

crimecomplaintcenter-top-10-complaints-cyber-crime-mar11.gifDuring 2010, the non-delivery of payment or merchandise was the most reported offense, followed by FBI-related scams and identity theft. Interestingly, two well-publicized forms of internet crime, spam (6.9%) and credit card fraud (5.3%) represented relatively small portions of the total base of internet crimes reported during 2010.

Older Consumers More Likely to Report Web Crimes

crimecomplaintcenter-demographic-by-age-mar11.gifEarly in IC3’s history, the 30-39 age group (representing 20.2% of reported internet crimes in 2010) represented the largest complainant reporting pool. Today, complainants 40-59 years old represent the two largest groups reporting crimes to IC3 (22.1% each). However, IC3 analysis of historic trends indicates a continuing shift toward those in the 50-59 and 60-and-older category. Those in the 60-and-older category account for the most dramatic rise in complaints over the entire 10 years.

Men reported greater dollar losses than women (at a ratio of $1.25 to every $1.00). Individuals 60 and older reported higher median amounts of loss than other age groups.

In addition, IC3 analysis indicates that as of 2010, men and women reported internet crimes in roughly equal numbers. In 2000, the ratio of men to women filing reports was 2.5 to 1.

California Clear Leader in Web Crime

ic3-state-map-2010-mar-2011.JPGComplaints from residents of California accounted for 13.7% of all internet crimes reported to IC3 during 2010. This was about 74% greater than the percentage represented by the number two state, Florida (7.9%). Texas closely followed at number three (7.3%).

The 10 states representing the highest percentages of total US internet crime complaints in 2010 combined to represent 54.7% of total complaints. Not surprisingly, all 10 states have large populations and contain at least one major metropolitan area.

1 in 10 US Households Reports Computer Crime

Slightly more than one in 10 (11%) US households self-reported a computer or internet crime on their home computer in the past year, which represents a new high, according to recent Gallup data. For the past several years, Gallup data shows self-reported US computer/internet crime rates holding a steady 6-8%, including 7% in 2009. However, 2010’s 11% rate is a substantial 57% increase from the 2009 rate.

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