Criminals have decided that there are such rich pickings on the Internet that two-thirds of all fraud cases investigated last year by the International Chamber of Commerce's Commercial Crime Services (CCS) unit were Web-based.
According to an ICC report, 2,776 of the 4,139 cases referred to the chamber by its members for further investigations were "directly connected to crime, fraud or deliberate misrepresentation by Web site traders offering bogus goods or services".
The survey claimed that by warning its members away from criminal Web sites, the chamber saved companies $2.3bn (£1.5bn).
Pottengal Mukundan, director of CCS, said, "Cybercrime is traditional crime perpetrated through a new and powerful medium. The fraudsters have not changed. Only the technology is different.
"It is surprising how experienced business people discard their normal prudence when confronted with a profitable proposal offered over a well-presented Web site, but it is vital that businesses and consumers apply the same degree of due diligence in their Web-based transactions as they do in traditional transactions."
The findings coincide with the launch by the ICC of a due diligence service for e-commerce companies. Run by the chamber's Commercial Crime Bureau, the new service checks the credentials of potential partners so that businesses know who they are dealing with before they enter into a contract over the Internet.
The bureau's assistant director, Jon Merrett, said that the service could investigate any Web site to see how it is set up and by whom.