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Reported cyberfraud losses double in 2009 -FBI

NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - Reported losses from Internet fraud more than doubled in 2009, with scams that falsely used the FBI’s name generating the most complaints, the law enforcement agency said on Friday.

The total dollar loss rose to $559.7 million last year from $264.6 million in 2008, based on amounts reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

The number of complaints received increased 22 percent to 336,655 from 275,284.

Schemes in which scammers pretended to be affiliated with the FBI to gain information from victims accounted for 16.6 percent of all complaints received.

Frauds in which sellers failed to ship or buyers failed to pay for merchandise accounted for 11.9 percent of complaints, while frauds where victims paid money upfront, typically for rewards that never materialize, made up 9.8 percent.

About 65.4 percent of the alleged fraudsters were in the United States, while 9.9 percent were in Great Britain, 8 percent in Nigeria and 2.6 percent in Canada.

Cyberfraud has been a growing problem for many years, and the reported losses may be only a fraction of the total losses that victims incur. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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