Internet Crime Rises With Economic Downturn

On a conference call with reporters FBI Supervisory Special Agent said Charles Pavelites said, "The [FBI] Director does not have an Italian Yahoo account from which he contacts you about inheritance." The FBI-related scams are believed to come mostly from overseas perpetrators and most internet users realize the emails are scams.

"We do not see a lot of people losing money," Pavelites said.

The FBI urges Internet users to delete suspicious e-mails and spam and to contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.

Kane said that cyber-thieves are now using social networking sites and cell phones to bilk unsuspecting individuals out of their money, "Criminals are taking advantage of different modalities…through cell phone…social networking sites…manipulating search results…they are not simply sending out an e-mail anymore because the public has caught onto that."

The Anonymity of the Internet

A new and recent trend, the officials said, are scammers developing their own fraudulent applications -- "apps" for short -- for mobile smart phones to look like online banking tools.

"It is a recognized trend." Kane said. "We are going to see an uptick in the way fraudsters are trying to take advantage of this."

In a statement, Donald Brackman. Director of the National White Collar Crime Center, said, "Criminals are continuing to take full advantage of the anonymity afforded them by the Internet. They are also developing increasingly sophisticated means of defrauding unsuspecting consumers. Internet crime is evolving in ways we couldn't have imagined just five years ago."

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