Internet crime increased 33 percent nationally in 2008 and the amount
of money lost to Internet criminals jumped more than $25 million.
Local data for Internet crimes is difficult to track, said Durango
Police Capt. Micki Browning. She said almost all computer crimes, with
a few exceptions, are referred to the Colorado State Treasurer's office
or the FBI because most of the crimes originate in other states or
"If we can pinpoint that you're at your computer within city limits and
you use your girlfriend's credit card to buy something at Gardenswartz,we can track that; but otherwise establishing jurisdiction is the most
challenging," Browning said.
The increase nationally was the first after three consecutive years
that saw a decrease in the number of crimes committed online, but the
dollar value of Internet crime has been steadily on the rise for the
last five years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation released the
year-end numbers Monday. Data was compiled jointly by the FBI and the
National White Collar Crime Center.
The agencies received 275,284 complaints last year with a reported loss
of $265 million for an average individual loss of $931. In 2007,206,884 reported crimes accounted for $239 million in losses. The
number of crimes reported dropped from 231,493 in 2005 to 207,492 in
2006, but the financial damages swelled from $183 million in 2005 to
$198 million in 2006 before climbing again to the current figure.
More than 66 percent of reported Internet crimes took place in the
United States last year and half of those originated in California, New
York, Florida, Texas, Washington, D.C., and the state of Washington.
Significant numbers also originated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria,Canada and South Africa.
Typical Internet crimes include lottery scams, "phishing" for
information to be used in identity theft, work-at-home scams,property-investment schemes and confidence or advanced-fee frauds,which are commonly presented as African-based charity pleas.