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IFCC 2002 Internet Fraud Report
The Internet Fraud Report is the second annual compilation of information on complaints received and referred by IFCC to law enforcement or regulatory agencies for appropriate action.

From January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002, the IFCC Web site received 75,063 complaints. This total includes many different fraudulent and non-fraudulent complaints, such as auction fraud, credit/debit card fraud, computer intrusions, unsolicited email (SPAM), and child pornography. During this same time period, IFCC has referred 48,252 complaints of fraud, a three-fold increase from the previous year. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $54 million, up from $17 million in 2001, with a median dollar loss of $299 per complaint.

Significant findings from the 2002 report include:

- As has been the case since IFCC began operation in 2000, Internet auction fraud was by far the most reported offense, comprising 46% of referred complaints. Non-delivery of merchandise and payment account for 31% of complaints, and credit/debit card fraud made up nearly 12% of complaints. Investment fraud, business fraud, confidence fraud, and identity theft round out the top seven categories of complaints referred to law enforcement during the year (all at 1.0% or more). Among those individuals who reported a dollar loss, the highest median dollar losses were found among Nigerian Letter fraud ($3,864), identity theft ($2,000), and check fraud ($1,100) complainants.

- Among perpetrators, nearly four in five (79%) are male and half reside in one of the following states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois. While most are from the United States, perpetrators also have a representation in Nigeria, Canada, South Africa, and Romania.

- Among complainants, 71% are male, half are between the ages of 30 and 50 (the average age is 39.4), and over one-third reside in one of the following four states: California, Florida, Texas, and New York. While most complainants are from the United States, IFCC has received a number of complaints from Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan.

- The amount lost by complainants tends to be related to a number of factors. Males tend to lose more than females. This may be a function of both online purchasing differences by gender, and the type of fraud the individual finds himself or herself involved with. While there isn't a strong relationship between age and loss, the proportion of individuals losing at least $5,000 is higher for those 60 years and older than it is for any other age category.

- Electronic mail (E-mail) and Web pages are the two primary mechanisms by which the fraudulent contact took place. In all, 66% of complainants reported they had e-mail contact with the perpetrator and 18.7% had contact
through a Web page.

- Only one in four complainants had contacted a law enforcement agency about the incident prior to filing a complaint with IFCC. These individuals had a higher median dollar loss ($500) than the total complainant population.

To read the Internet Fraud Report go to www.ifccfbi.gov
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How Can I Improve my Credit Score?
1. Pay off any old, collection account or delinquent debt.
2. Only open and keep accounts that you need... don't race to put 20 credit cards in your pocket.
3. Don't apply for every credit card that comes in the mail or via email. The more "HARD INQUIRIES" on your report the lower your score.
4. Pay off credit cards and other revolving lines of credit every month if possible.
5. Always pay EVERY bill on time, even if it means sending in less (but at least the minimum amount). If you can't pay your bill on time, call the company and let them know.
6. Read carefully any application for credit, considering the APR, late and other fees, annual or monthly fees, and Grace period (if applicable).
7. Shop around for the best credit possible.
8. Run a credit check on your own credit profile and dispute all incorect information.

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