"The 2009 internet crime report" by internet crime complaint centre (IC3) highlights how unsecure the internet in increasingly becoming. This report clearly indicates that, reported crimes committed over the internet have exponentially increased from 16,838 in2001 to 336,665 in 2009. IC3 employed a new complaint classification system during 2009 which was complainant- driven. In this classification procedure, the system automatically classifies complaints into 79 offence- based categories. This system provided a comprehensive analysis of internet crimes reported during 2009.
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The "2009 internet crime report" that was based on this new system indicated that, the internet crimes cases increased from 275,284 to 336,655 between 2008 and 2009; this represented a 22.9 % increase. Most of these cases were related to fraud in which the complainants reported financial losses. A total loss of $559.7 million was reported from all referred cases with a mean and a median dollar loss of $5,580 and $575 respectively. This represented more than a double increment from $264.4 million loss that was reported in 2008. According to this report, financial loss reported from internet crimes has been exponentially increasing since the year 2000. The IC3 report show that between 2008 and 2009 the number of complaints presented to law enforcements increased from 72,940 to146, 663.
The complaints that were presented to law enforcements largely involved an identifiable offender. According to this report, top five internet offences reported to the law enforcement were ranked as follows: payment (19.9%), identity theft (14.1%), credit card fraud, (10.4%), auction fraud (0.3%), and computer fraud (destruction/damage/vandalism of property) which accounted for7.9%. According to this report, these complaint category statistics are based on the perception of the consumer and are influenced how the complainant characterises their victimization and may not always give an accurately picture of what is happening.
The report also indicates that in cases where perpetrator information was provided, most offenders (76.6%) were found to be men and majority resided in the following states: California, Florida, New York, the District of Columbia, Texas, and Washington. This report further indicates that in overall, the US reported the highest number of internet crimes. Some perpetrators were also found to reside in United Kingdom, Nigeria, Canada, Malaysia, and Ghana.
According to complainant characteristics presented in the 2009 report, it was found out that; the average complainant was male between 40 and 49 and it was more probable that they resided in one of the following four states: California, Florida, Texas or New York. Although majority of complainants resided in the US, a number of filings were made from the following places: Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. According to IC3, the process of investigation and prosecution of cyber crimes is intricate one because the offender and the complainant may be located anywhere in the world. IC3 suggest that; because of these unique characteristics of the offender and the complainant, cooperation of multiple agencies will be indispensable in solving these cases.
With the help of IC3, law enforcement has been able to resolve some cyber crimes. For instance, In November 2009, IC3 sent a case to the Tampa Police Department, Tampa, Florida regarding suspect James Diebold. A few days prior, a victim contacted IC3 about the suspect. Other victims with similar complaints were found in the ICSIS database. IC3 suggest that education and awareness will be vital tools in protecting individuals from these cyber-crimes. This is because individuals have sometimes found themselves victims even after following the best prevention strategies. The IC3 website provides the educational tips that are vital in protecting consumers.
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