Using Victimization Data to Measure the Dimensions of Internet Fraud

Donald J. Rebovich, National White Collar Crime Center
John Kane, National White Collar Crime Center

This paper focuses on measuring the occurrences of Internet-facilitated fraud as reported to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), a cooperative initiative of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). With the widespread adoption of technology in the everyday activities of consumers come new opportunities to commit fraud and other forms of computer-related criminal activity. Little is known about the characteristics of Internet fraud, the offenders, or the victims. Official crime statistics, such as the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) have not yet evolved to address reports of Internet Fraud. Additionally, exponential changes in technology coupled with continuous shifts in the demographics of online users have often made it difficult to examine the dynamics between victims, perpetrators, and the fraud itself. This paper presents an analysis of thousands of complaints received and referred by the IFCC to hundreds of law enforcement or regulatory agencies. This information should enhance our general knowledge about the scope and prevalence of Internet fraud in the United States.

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Updated 05/20/2006