Unexpected Facts About Scams

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  • A scan of 22 million PCs by security firm Panda Labs showed that nearly 12 million of them were infected. That could mean that half of the world’s PCs are be infected with viruses, Trojans, spyware and other malware.
  • The typical victim of a lottery money scam loses around $3,000, usually for supposed tax, administration or Customs fees, while those who fall for advance fee scams lose, on average, up to $4,000. The average identity theft victim gets taken for $5,000.
  • Scammers profile their victims — they know who makes the best target. For instance, a woman aged 70-plus is the most common target for a lottery scam, while a man in the 55-61 age range is the most common investment fraud victim. However, the age group that attracts the most scams is the 30-39 year olds.
  • Almost two-thirds of people incorrectly believe a cheque is valid if a bank pays out funds on it. (It’s not, and if the cheque subsequently bounces, the account holder is responsible for repaying any money they withdrew.)
  • On average, 3,500 new sites harbouring malware are set up every day. Online security experts McAfee reckon there are now more than 1.2 million different types of Internet malware.
  • 10 million people were said to be victims of identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission a total of 30 million Americans ages 18 and older, or 13.5% of the U.S. adult population, were victims of consumer fraud of one type or another during a one-year period.
  • Half of all identity thieves in a recent study came from a middle class background, had a college education and an otherwise conventional lifestyle. Most of them had jobs and their main motivation was to buy luxuries. In other words, they’re not all serial crooks or drug addicts.
  • In 2005, before Hurricane Katrina even made landfall, there were 200 phoney Katrina aid websites. In a recent intervention, the Nigerian Government shut down 800 fraudulent sites.
  • An estimated total of 125 trillion spam messages have been sent out in the past five years, says Project Honeypot.
  • The scam ratio for work-at-home jobs posted online is 59:1. In other words, out of every 60 advertised jobs, only one is genuine.

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