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Press Releases

03/01/2011

New Report Details Computer Crime Nationwide and in Connecticut for 2010

HARTFORD, March 1 – Non-delivery of merchandise or payment, Identity theft, and Auction fraud.  These were the most common complaints made by Connecticut consumers to the joint FBI/National White Collar Crime Center’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) last year, according to its 2010 Internet Crime Report. The report includes a state-by-state breakdown of complaints along with national statistics.


With non-delivery at 19.3%, identity theft at 18.4% and auction fraud at 10.6%, the top three complaints make up nearly half of all 2551 complaints to the IC3 last year from Connecticut.

“This data is extremely helpful in helping regulators and law enforcement to determine where precious resources can best be allocated to detect and defend against internet crime,” Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said today.  “We encourage Connecticut consumers to contact us as well if they feel they have been victimized.”

Nationwide, the IC3 received more than 300,000 complaints in 2010, averaging just over 25,000 a month. About 170,000 complaints that met specific investigative criteria -- such as certain financial thresholds -- were referred to the appropriate local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies.

But even the complaints not referred to law enforcement, including those where no financial losses had occurred, were valuable pieces of information analyzed and used for intelligence reports and to help identify emerging fraud trends.

Most Connecticut victims filing complaints were male, between 40 and 59 years old.  In cases where perpetrator information was available, nearly 75 percent were men and more than half resided in California, Florida, New York, Texas, the District of Columbia or Washington State. The highest numbers of perpetrators outside the United States were from the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Canada.

After non-delivery of payment/merchandise, auction fraud and identity thefts, rounding out the top 10 Connecticut-reported crime types were: miscellaneous fraud, scams impersonating the FBI, hacking, advance fee fraud, spam, credit card fraud, and overpayment fraud. 

New scams or an increase in established scams in 2010 included those involving:

  • Telephone calls claiming victims are delinquent on payday loans. 
  • Online apartment and house rental and real estate scams used to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars.
  • Denial-of-service attacks on cell phones and landlines used as a ruse to access victims’ bank accounts. More
  • Fake e-mails seeking donations to disaster relief efforts after last year’s earthquake in Haiti. 

With the total reported loss for Connecticut exceeded $3,300,000, the total median dollar loss for all complaints from CT that reported a dollar loss was just over $500.  Two-thirds of the losses fell in the $100 to $5,000 range, while the top dollar loss complaint totaled $200,000 and involved identity theft.

Overall, ages of the victims were fairly evenly distributed, with 46 percent falling between the ages of 40 to 59 years. Seventeen percent of victims were in their twenties, 16 percent in their thirties, and nearly 17 percent were over the age of 60.

“Anyone who uses a computer is at risk for scams and fraud,” Rubenstein said. “Consumers always need to take strong security measures by making sure home computers have the latest security software, by protecting personal identification information and by being highly suspicious if someone offers an online deal that’s too good to be true.  Further, I urge anyone who thinks they spot a scam to file a complaint with my office as well as with the IC3. Your information is vital in helping to paint a fuller picture of internet crime and to detect new scams and patterns of unlawful activity.”

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was founded in 2000 as a joint effort between the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C)/Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). That partnership leveraged the resources necessary to aid law enforcement with internet fraud complaints.

The full national and Connecticut report and consumer complaint forms are available on the Department of Consumer Protection website at www.ct.gov/dcp.

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Media Contact: Claudette Carveth
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