Two Internet Scams Flourish During Economic Downturn

Data from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) demonstrate the popularity of certain Internet scams during the recession. Two in particular garnered easy profits for cybercriminals by exploiting unemployed workers and workplace anxieties.
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* Boca Raton - Florida - US

Jan. 11, 2011 - PRLog -- Boca Raton, Fla. – Many Internet scams and cybercrimes tend to reflect the times in which they are perpetrated.  2009 was the first serious year of the current economic recession, and the work-at-home scam and survey scam gained popularity, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) Annual Report.  These scams garnered easy profits for cybercriminals by exploiting workers who were unemployed or underemployed, and tapping into worker anxieties about their employment conditions.  

Make Money Working From Home.
Work-at-home scams make it easy for unwitting individuals to fall prey to fraudulent job postings ranging from personnel managers to secret shoppers. Victims are lured into providing their personally identifiable information (PII)—with promises of above-average hourly wages, or thousands of dollars per week in earnings.  In some cases, victims are promised that the hardware or software they need to perform the work-at-home job will be shipped to them after a small deposit. The websites can be so convincing that victims are often  duped into cashing checks or money orders that they receive as advances—then writing personal checks or sending cash, money orders or wire transfers to redistribute a portion of their proceeds to a third party.  As the adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  But that doesn’t stop hopefuls from falling for this scam.

Tell Us How You Feel.
In the popular survey scam, fraudsters have leveraged the economic downturn to attract individuals to complete a survey regarding their current employment conditions.  In this type of scam, online ads are posted to solicit widespread employee participation in the survey.  Those who apply are required to submit a copy of their payroll check as proof of employment. After sending the copy, the victim never hears from the ‘polling company’ again. However, their employer’s bank account is drained of thousands of dollars through the use of fraudulent checks drawn against the account information printed on the payroll check or check stub.

Data for 2010 has not yet been tabulated by the IC3, but these and other cybercrimes are expected to figure prominently once again. And with the economy still in a slump as we enter 2011, anticipate seeing them continue—perhaps with slight modifications to refresh them for a profitable new year.

Chart depicts the growth of cybercrime as reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center since it was launched in 2000.

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Tags:Internet Scams, Cybercrime Growth, Economic Recession, Internet Crime Complaint Center, Internet Security, Cybersecurity
Industry:Technology, Security, Internet
Location:Boca Raton - Florida - United States
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