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Internet fraud (also called e-commerce fraud) refers to

a broad category of fraud schemes that use one or more components of the Internet to defraud prospective victims, conduct fraudulent transactions, or transmit fraudulent transactions to financial institutions or other parties.[1]


In 2007, the FTC reported 221,226 Internet-related fraud complaints, up almost 16,000 from 2006 and more than 24,000 from 2005.[2] U.S. consumers pay a staggering price for Internet fraud and abuse. In 2007, an estimated $7.1 billion was lost due to viruses, spyware, and phishing alone[3] — up almost $2 billion from the 2006 estimate — and the cost of dealing with spam was an estimated $100 billion worldwide (including $35 billion in the United States), double the amount in 2005.[4] These trends are linked to skyrocketing identity theft, with as many as 9 million Americans victimized every year.[5]


  1. Cybercrime: Public and Private Entities Face Challenges in Addressing Cyber Threats, at 6.
  2. Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data, Jan.-Dec. 2007, at 4 (full-text).
  3. Consumer Reports, “2007 State of the Net” (Sept. 2007) (full-text).
  4. Ferris Research, The Cost of Spam (2007).
  5. See Federal Trade Commission, About Identity Theft (full-text).

See also[]