April 17, 2012, 10:47 AM

The Big Apple is the pits when it comes to online fraud

Among large U.S. cities, fraud is most likely to originate in NYC, ThreatMetrix says.

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Start spreading the (bad) news: Criminals engaged in online fraud work out of New York City more often than they do other U.S. cities, according to a report released today by ThreatMetrix. The fraud prevention technology provider determined the top cities for origination of online fraud by analyzing about 1 billion transactions by U.S.-based e-retailers in the first quarter.

Transactions originating in New York City are 1.5 times more likely to be at risk for fraud than the second-place city, Atlanta—and twice as likely to carry such risk as the nation’s traditional Second City, Chicago, which ranked third in this study. Criminals prefer those cities for the same reasons business executives and other ambitious professionals do, ThreatMetrix says. “As [criminals] grow more sophisticated and expand globally, it’s only natural that large cities with international profiles, easy access to shipping and high connectivity rates will become breeding grounds for new generations of cyber threats, including both fraud and malware,” says Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer, ThreatMetrix.

One surprise of the study, according to ThreatMetrix, is the relatively low ranking of San Francisco. The tech mecca came in seventh, behind Dallas and Omaha. “We would expect to see a highly connected city like San Francisco rank higher, but perhaps the relatively substantial penetration of Apple devices, which are largely seen to be less vulnerable to malware, explains its relatively low ranking,” Faulkner says.

Here are the top 10 U.S. cities for online fraud origination:

1. New York
2. Atlanta
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles
5. Omaha
6. Dallas
7. San Francisco
8. Houston
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Lexington, KY

At the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in June, Tim Toews, consultant & former CIO, Office Depot Inc., will speak in a session entitled “Blocking the hackers: The case for preventive action.

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