Computer Crime Research Center


Internet scams on the rise

Date: December 25, 2004
Source: The
By: By Sharon Porta

The increase in online shopping has meant more victims of Internet scams, according to the Indiana Crime Prevention Coalition's executive director Scott Minier.

Minier said that 37,183 complaints were filed with the National Fraud Information Center last year. The average reported loss rose from $468 in 2002 to $527 last year. Most complaints involve merchandise never arriving or misrepresented goods or services.

"Surprising to some is the fact that victims are not unsuspecting older consumers, but younger, seemingly more savvy customers under 40 who make up 56 percent of web scam victims," Minier said.

Morris Cochran, executive director of the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Indiana, thinks there are several reasons for the increase.

"We all like to believe we are the next one in line to get a great deal," Cochran said. "With men in particular, there is a dread of going out shopping. If we are not good shoppers, how do we know what a good deal is? Americans are lazier. We want instant stuff, and the Internet is instant."

Cochran said that the vast majority of Internet transactions are fine. As a precaution, however, he recommends looking for the Better Business Bureau's insignia on a Web site. If that is not available, consumers can log on to or call (219) 980-1511 to see if there are any reports on the company.

"If you are one of the people who have more money than time, just go buy it," Cochran said. "But if you are like the rest of us, with a little more time than money, pick up the phone or log on to our Web site."
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