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One born every minute


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There's a sucker born every minute someone said and that's not about to change judging by the Yahoo 'news' item Fri Mar 12: Reported cyberfraud losses double in 2009: FBI. Catchy headline but beware drawing simple inferences - as the article says "Cyberfraud has been a growing problem for many years, and the reported losses may be only a fraction of the total losses that victims incur." A big part of the FBI focus being the scams that fake an FBI origin (16.6 percent of all complaints received) and consequently that particular variety has probably been more closely investigated than most and the representation accordingly biased. Also, as a US agency is involved, the location of victims and origins reflects US experience, not global. But the signs are clear enough.

  • "The total dollar loss rose to $559.7 million last year from $264.6 million in 2008 ..."
  • "... complaints received increased 22 percent to 336,655 from 275,284 ..."
  • breakdown of those 336,655
    • bogus 'FBI' phishes 16.6 percent
    • failure to supply or to pay for goods 11.9 percent
    • advance fee fraud (such as Nigerian 419s) 9.8 percent

    [*]Origin of the alleged fraudsters

    • 65.4 percent were in the United States
    • 9.9 percent in Great Britain
    • 8 percent in Nigeria
    • 2.6 percent in Canada

Elsewhere Wazoo recently posted on botnets and they have their part in cyberfraud too (and much more) - with no real global solutions as yet in train despite the best (and welcome) piecemeal efforts of agencies and whitehats.

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