Amid the economic downturn, complaints about internet fraud and scams have steadily increased.
Since 2007, complaints about Internet crimes have been on the rise, but a new report shows that last year especially complaints began to soar.
According to the latest Internet Crime Complaint Center report, many Internet scams were tied to the poor economy and grew more 20 percent. The report by the center was produced in partnership with the FBI.
The economic downturn brought a rise in investment and employment-opportunity scams, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the report, cybercrime complaints doubled in 2009 to about $560 million. In addition, many incidents are not reported to law-enforcement agencies.
Many of the schemes involve scammers who pretended to be affiliated with the FBI to gain information from victims accounted for 16.6 percent of all complaints received, the report shows.
To do this, often scammer use search-engine optimization to allow fake Web sites to rise to the top of searches as part of their ploy. The scam artist also use social networking sites now instead of email to perpetrate "phishing" scams and steal personal information from victims.
The report states that some scams last year also involved bogus emails and phone calls soliciting victims to apply for fraudulent government stimulus programs.
Other popular Internet fraud included work-at-home, personal manager and secret shopper scams.
Some of the latest scams involve fraudulent "apps" that are developed to look like mobile on line banking tools.
To protect yourself against Internet crimes here are a few tips recommended by experts:
Strengthening antivirus and antimalware defenses on computers
- Safeguarding servers
- Using the highest privacy settings on social-networking sites to avoid intrusions by criminals
- Avoid clicking on unsolicited emails and attachments