We’ve been hearing a lot about identity theft lately, so we were surprised to find out it actually wasn’t the top-reported cyber crime last year. According to the Internet Crime Complaint centre, FBI-impersonation scams were the most common cyber crime in 2011.
The centre received 314,246 complaints last year, a third of which had reported stolen funds. A little more than $485.25 million went missing in all.
FBI impersonator email scams have kept the centre quite busy. About 39 complaints were logged per day, with $245 being reported stolen on average.
The FBI email scam is nothing more than a new twist on the old sweepstakes scam, which claims the victim has won or inherited a large sum of money.
“Basically, the scams need an air of legitimacy in order to work and invoking the FBI or another governmental agency leads victims to believe the fraudsters’ claims,” Charles Pavelites, an FBI supervisory special agent at the centre, told the Associated Press.
See below for a breakdown of the scam by age group: