Advance fee scams are prevalent on the internet. They are also known as “419” scams, in reference to the relevant section of the criminal code in Nigeria where many of these schemes originate. Fraudsters solicit victims by promising to share a large sum of money, in return for an up-front payment.
Successful investigations by the FBI Cyber Division have led to numerous convictions of computer hackers and perpetrators of other web-facilitated crimes such as economic espionage, state-sponsored attacks, and online recruiting by terrorist organizations. So why does the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) focus solely on self-reported complaints from consumers when tallying the total financial impact of online crime?