According to the 2006 annual report released by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), Internet auction fraud is the most commonly reported online crime. 45% of the 207,492 complaints received by the IC3 in 2006 related to auction fraud which was down significantly from the 2005 figure of 65%. Overall the reported number of complaints received by IC3 is down 10% from the 2005 figures but the total dollar cost of these crimes is up to $198 million in 2006 from $183 million in 2005. The overall average sum per complaint was $724.
Along the same theme, with April fools day (April 1st) approaching the Irish National Consumer Agency has launched a campaign to make Irish consumers more aware of scams which, among other forms, can happen via e-mails, Internet sites, text messages and phone calls. As April also coincides with the maturation of many of the SSIA (Special Savings Incentive Account) scheme sponsored by the Irish Government, this is a timely warning. The SSIA scheme was started 5 years ago in a bid to encourage Irish people to save more money. To encourage the saving habit the Irish Government offered a guaranteed 25% bonus on each saving scheme that matured at the end of the 5 year saving period. There are concerns that many of these SSIA savers will be targeted by scams to relieve them of their hard earned savings.