Report: Nevada Ranks Among Worst States for Internet Crime

April 7, 2008

Nevada ranked among the worst states for Internet scams last year, according to a government study.

The state ranked second in the nation per capita for perpetrators and fifth per capita for victims, the report by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center found.

The study estimated that Nevada had 64.5 perpetrators per 100,000 people, which trailed only the Disrict of Columbia. It also found the state had nearly 82 complaints per 100,000 people.

Nevada Deputy Attorney General Ernest Figueroa attributed the state’s ranking in part to its transient population.

“If you’re the type of person who is moving from population center to population center, you’re not going to be aware of the local scams out there,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

“When you have a 24-hour city, you have to blanket every means of mass communcation to try to get the word out,” he added.

Pet and check scams, and auction frauds are common in Nevada, Figueroa said.

“These scams are very successful and they’re proven to work,” he said.

But Figueroa warned that the report only looks at where scammers said they operate. Scam artists could say they operate from popular destinations such as Las Vegas in order to gain credibility when they actually work from outside the U.S., he said.

“You could say you’re from anywhere,” Figueroa said. “No one really knows until you invest some resources to figure out where it’s coming from.”

Money lost in Internet crimes hit a new record high last year, topping about $240 million partly because of increases in scams involving pets, check-cashing schemes and online dating, according to the report.

The number of reported Internet scams dropped slightly from previous years, but the total lost jumped by $40 million.

The report, based on data from the Internet Crime Complaint Center, shows that more men than women were scammed over the Internet.

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