Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Have You Been the Victim of an Internet Scam?
Ask an Internet Fraud Attorney for Legal Advice
Since the advent of the internet, criminals have been finding ways to scam people out of money. Any situation in which a criminal tricks someone out of their money using the internet or a software with internet access is considered internet fraud, and could be subject to correction through legal recourse. Internet scams can result in extreme financial and emotional damage. Millions of dollars are stolen every year through the use of internet scams, some simple and others extremely complex. If you have suffered from an internet scam, contact an internet fraud attorney to learn what they can do to protect you and your family from further damage, and potentially even recoup your losses.
What are the Statistics on Internet Fraud?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a center dedicated to the identification and prevention of internet fraud. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has been tracking the frequency and types of internet fraud for years. It publishes this information online as well as issuing consumer alerts which can protect further innocent victims from falling into the trap of online scammers.
Let’s go over some important internet fraud statistics collected from IC3’s 2019 Annual Report:
- In 2019, the IC3 received 23,775 email account scam complaints, resulting in losses over $1.7 billion.
- In 2019, the IC3 received 68,013 complaints of elder fraud from victims over 60 years of age, resulting in losses over $835 million.
- In 2019, the IC3 received 13,633 complaints of tech support fraud from victims in 48 countries. The losses for these incidents totaled more than $54 million.
- In 2019, the IC3 received 2,047 complaints of malware fraud known as Ransomware, with losses totaling over $8.9 million.
- On average, the IC3 receives more than 1,200 internet fraud complaints per day.
- On average, the IC3 receives more than 340,000 complaints of internet fraud each year.
- In 2019, victims of internet fraud lost approximately $3.5 billion total.
Common Types of Internet Fraud
Internet fraud can occur in a variety of ways, with some scams more commonly used than others. Commonly used internet scams include:
- Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) and E-mail Account Compromise (EAC). These scams are sophisticated and can target both individuals and businesses. This kind of fraud occurs when criminals compromise legitimate business emails to initiate an unauthorized transfer of funds.
- Data breach. Many companies have been under the microscope for providing inadequate internet protection to their users, resulting in data breaches or leaks. When a data breach occurs, scammers can view and utilize the personal information of unfortunate users whose information has spilled across the internet.
- Malware/Scareware/Ransomware. These scams involve software created with malicious intent with the ability to disable computers, steal user data, and even use scare tactics to solicit funds from internet scam victims.
- Phishing schemes. In phishing schemes, one party generally pretends to be a different, more reputable party and will contact you to request personal information, often under the guise of verifying an account.
- Work-at-Home scams. You might have seen the many advertisements regarding jobs that supposedly pay extremely well to work from home. However, many of these jobs require you to pay expensive fees to begin the job and often purchase expensive material. In reality, these jobs do not provide a living wage to the people who have fallen victim to the scam.
- Fake rentals. As a general rule of thumb, if something on the internet seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some scammers will list rental properties on classified listing sites for a price that seems impossibly good. However, when potential renters inquire, the “landlord” will often come up with some reason that they must transfer some fee or rent money over the internet.
- Catfishing. Most students are warned about catfishing in computer safety courses in school these days, but it continues to be a problem. These scammers use online accounts, most often social media, to pretend to be another person in order to gain the affections of a victim and solicit anything from inappropriate material to money and gifts
- Pop-up prizes. When an ad suddenly pops onto your computer screen shouting that you have won some prize or other for a contest you never entered, this is most likely a scam. These scammers will often request shipping fees or personal information which can result in further financial harm, all for a prize that never existed.
Do You Have a Claim for Online Fraud?
Depending on the nature of the scam you suffered and the damages that occurred, you could be eligible to take legal action in order to pursue compensation for your losses. It’s important to contact an internet fraud attorney, as this field of law is complex and can be hard to achieve financial recovery from. After suffering from an internet scam, your internet fraud attorney may identify possible claims for:
- Compensatory damages. These damages refer to the financial loss a victim suffered; in successful internet fraud cases these funds are generally paid back in the same quantity which they were stolen.
- Punitive damages. These damages are not common, but they could be applied cases involving internet fraud, resulting in further financial compensation for the victim intended to serve as a punishment to the scammer.
If you or a loved one have suffered from an online scam, contact an internet fraud attorney to learn more about your situation and how an attorney can help you report the incident and make a full financial recovery.