Cybercriminals’ profits surge

In times of economic hardship, it’s good to know one sector of the economy is booming. So hats off to American cybercriminals, who apparently doubled their takings in 2009.

They netted a whacking $560 million over the year, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

IC3 says it had 336,655 complaints over the year, 22 percent up on the year before. Advanced fee scams using the FBI name were the most common, followed by non-delivery or merchandise or payment.

“The figures contained in this report indicate that criminals are continuing to take full advantage of the anonymity afforded them by the internet,” says director of the National White Collar Crime Center Donald Brackman.

“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.”