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Has the Recession Led to an Increase of Online Fraud?

April 20th, 2010 | Small Business | No Comments »

Unemployment is officially around 10% (and there are estimates that the real unemployment is likely 20%).  It is likely that we’ll see this high level of unemployment for the next few years.  Does the recession and unemployment pose a threat to online security?

There have been a few articles linking the recession to an increase of online fraud.  Most of them are anecdotal (citing some instances of shoppers being scammed online), or bad math (saying that claims of online crime have gone up in 2008 and 2009 — forgetting that online shopping grew in those years as well).

The logic makes sense — that desperate times bring out the worst in people.  Cutting in favor of the argument is that it has never been easier to set up a website and start a (fraudulent) business.  The other way to look at it is that with individuals becoming more savvy online, fraudsters will have to be more sophisticated in their criminal activities (making it more unlikely that the newly unemployed just start committing online fraud).

Right now the jury seems to be out, but feel free to share your thoughts (or some conclusive studies on the link between online fraud and the recession).

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