Internet scams have been around almost a long as the Internet itself, but that doesn’t stop people from falling for them. The latest report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center says consumers were victims of nearly 290,000 online frauds and lost more than $525 million in 2012. That’s up 8 percent from 2011.
Overall, the most fraud complaints came from California, nearly doubling second-place Florida.
The most common Internet crime last year involved crooks posing as car dealers and advertising online to sell cars they didn’t actually own. The victims paid via the Web, sight unseen. They got taken for a ride, but not in a new car.
The second most popular crime, ironically, was spam supposedly from FBI Director Robert Mueller himself, telling people they were entitled to large sums of money if they paid his agency to obtain the necessary paperwork. Seems believable. Why wouldn’t nation’s top law enforcement official do the agency’s clerical work, too?
A tip for fighting fraud: government agencies don’t send unsolicited e-mails.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]