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  • IC3 Reports Highlight Biggest Internet Fraud of 2014

    According to the FBI, the biggest driver of Internet fraud during 2014 was con artists and social media scams that go after the lonely hearts and robbing them of their money. That’s according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) yearly online fraud report.

    The report states that the amount of money lost during 2014 was $800 million. The IC3 believes this is just a minute amount compared to what is not being reported. Looking at industry data, the National White Collar Crime Center anticipates the amount the fraud is costing U.S. individuals and businesses is over $3.5 billion annually.

    The IC3 report is a look at the amount of fraud being done. During 2014, people who overshared or love-seekers on Facebook or other social media websites were often the targets of cybercriminals. The worst schemes came from scammers perpetrating as military members, pretending they’re looking for love. These scams were the most reported, with victims being scammed out on average of $14,214.

    Women were more of a target than men with 70 percent of the romantic scams.

    Criminals go through chat rooms, dating websites and social media website looking for personal information and use well-rehearsed scripts to attain the attention of possible victims. The victims believe they’re actually in a relationship with a trustworthy, honest person… even though they’ve never met.

    Since social media has become such an important part of people’s lives, the criminals are good at manipulating them. Over 12 percent of the reported fraud included some aspect of social media. The agency said this is 400 percent jump in five years’ time.

    It said in the majority of cases, the victim’s personal data was found using social engineering or compromised accounts where crooks persuaded the victim to visit dangerous links, and loading their computer with malware.

    According to the IC3, there was a significant increase in crime linked to virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Peercoin and Litecoin. The report said this kind of currency has becomes extremely popular, with criminals coming up with new ways to take advantage of the market, with victims losing millions of dollars.

    The IC3 offers numerous tips on being financially safe through the Internet including but not limited to:

    · Not responding to requests for personal information
    · Not filing forms out in email messages that ask for personal data
    · Not clicking on links in emails. Go to official website of group or business
    · Have two email addresses – one for business and people you know and one for other reasons
    · Constantly check your bank statements to avoid fraud
    · Don’t provide your credit card information via phone unless you called
    · Don’t give money to people you’ve never met or have seen
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