Internet fraud expanding, security experts warn

Wednesday, 19 February 2003, 3:02 PM EST

Corporate computer security professionals should be aware that Internet fraud is not only growing in frequency but also expanding in scope, security experts warned at a cybercrime conference here this week.

Despite recent surveys that indicate consumers are feeling more comfortable conducting online business transactions, the number of Internet-related fraud complaints jumped from 220,000 in 2001 to 380,000 in 2002, according to statistics released last month by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. But what has law enforcement officials especially concerned is the wide range of tactics and targets that criminals are now pursuing online.

Jonathan Rusch, special counsel for fraud prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice, said criminals aren't just using the Internet to conduct traditional identity theft and investment fraud. They're engaging in such activities as setting up legitimate business enterprises and spoofing Web sites of other companies in an effort to defraud customers who deal with those companies online.

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