CYCO receives significantly more complaints of economic crime

Press Release, fedpol, 23.04.2013

Bern. The Swiss Coordination Unit for Cybercrime Control (CYCO) at the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) received a total of 8,241 online complaints from the public in 2012 concerning suspicious Internet content. This represents an increase of 55 per cent over the previous year. For the first time CYCO received more complaints of economic offences than of illegal pornography.

The online complaints related to a variety of topics and were generally of a high quality. More than 80 per cent (6,639) of the complaints concerned criminally relevant matters. The offences reported primarily concerned illegal pornography involving children, fraud, phishing, spam or damage to data.

Numerous phishing and fraud victims in Switzerland

In the last few years the number of complaints concerning property offences has been steadily rising. For the first time since it began its work, CYCO received more complaints concerning this category (3,260 reports) than concerning sexual offences (3,083 reports).

Property offences were headed by the subcategory fraud, with a total of 1,770 complaints. Most of the complaints in this subcategory related to fraudulent offers in classified advertisements or via online auction platforms, where victims had been tricked into making advance payments for goods or services that they ultimately never received.

Eight per cent of the reports submitted to CYCO in 2012 concerned phishing attacks ―attempts to access sensitive data by means of e-mails or telephone calls. The data sought included credit card numbers, bank account numbers, access data to e-mail accounts and e-banking information.

Further increase in complaints of child pornography

The proportion of complaints concerning sexual offences was again slightly higher in 2012 than in 2011. Most of the complaints in this category concerned the distribution of child pornography via websites registered outside of Switzerland. CYCO reported the incriminating websites to the competent―mostly foreign―prosecuting authorities with a request to delete the appropriate web pages.

CYCO also received more than 300 complaints concerning pornographic websites that were insufficiently protected against access by minors.

Active search for paedophile criminals

Besides handling online complaints from the public, CYCO also conducted its own independent search for paedophile crime by monitoring less accessible areas of the Internet. In 2012, CYCO forwarded 450 incident files to the cantons for follow-up action as a result of its monitoring activities. This represents a twofold increase over the previous year.

Most of these incident files resulted from monitoring peer-to-peer networks. CYCO thus succeeded in identifying 417 people who were actively exchanging child pornography. The cantonal prosecution authorities subsequently carried out a house search in 98 per cent of the cases they received from CYCO.

Under an agreement with the police of Canton Schwyz, CYCO also carried out undercover investigations, taking subsequent action in 33 cases against suspected paedophile criminals active in chat rooms, on online platforms or on private P2P file-sharing sites.

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