IC3 2003 Internet Fraud Report
(IC3) to better reflect the broad character of such matters having a cyber (Internet) nexus. The 2003 Internet Fraud
Report is the third annual compilation of information on complaints received and referred by the IC3 to law
enforcement or regulatory agencies for appropriate action. From January 1, 2003 – December 31, 2003, the IC3 and
IFCC websites received 124,509 complaint submissions. These filings were composed of fraudulent and non-
fraudulent complaints primarily related to the Internet.
IC3 referred 95,064 complaints to enforcement agencies on behalf of the filing individuals. These complaints were
composed of many different fraud types such as auction fraud, non-delivery, and credit/debit card fraud, as well as
non-fraudulent complaints, such as computer intrusions, spam/unsolicited e-mail, and child pornography.
From the submissions, IC3 referred 63,316 complaints of fraud, the majority of which were committed over the
Internet or similar online service. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $125.6 million with a
median dollar loss of $329 per complaint. Significant findings include:
• Internet auction fraud was still by far the most reported offense, comprising 61.0% of referred complaints. Non-
delivered merchandise and/or payment accounted for 20.9% of complaints. Credit/debit card fraud made up
6.9% of complaints. Check Fraud, identity theft, business fraud, and investment fraud round out the top seven
categories of complaints referred to law enforcement during the year (all at 1.0% or more).
• Among those individuals who reported a dollar loss, the highest median dollar losses were found among
Nigerian letter fraud, identity theft, and check fraud complainants.
• Among perpetrators, nearly 79% were male and half resided in one of the following states: California, New
York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. The majority of reported perpetrators were from the United
States. However, perpetrators also had a representation in Canada, Nigeria, Italy, Spain, and Romania.
• Among complainants, 70% were male, half were between the ages of 30 and 50 (39.4 average age) and over
one-third resided in one of the four most populated states: California, Florida, Texas, and New York. While
most were from the United States, IC3 received a number of complaints from Canada, Australia, Great Britain,
Germany, and Japan.
• Males lost more money than females. This may be a function of both online purchasing differences by gender
and the type of fraudulent schemes the individual were victimized by.
• Electronic mail (E-mail) and web pages were the two primary mechanisms by which the fraudulent contact took
place. In all, 64.8% of complainants reported that they had e-mail contact with the perpetrator and 19.4% had
contact through a web page.