Internet is New York consumer's prime peeve

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The results are in: The top consumer complaint in New York is...the internet.

According to the state attorney general, rumblings over the web resulted in 7,723 written complaints last year, besting 6,164 complaints of credit card and banking issues, which include identity theft.

"The internet has become the new Main Street of our society," state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said. "It has brought great benefits, but also new opportunities for the unscrupulous."

Spitzer on Wednesday released the annual top-ten list of consumer complaints made to his office.

Rounding out the list were complaints involving automobiles (5,514), telecommunications (3,372), services (2,897), mail orders (2,558), retail sales (2,475), home repairs or construction (2,355), travel (2,075) and landlord-tenant relationships (2,012).

Most of the internet complaints involved non-delivery of goods, incorrect charges for shipped goods, spyware and spam.

Last year, an attorney general's investigation led to Intermix Media agreeing to pay $7.5 million in penalties and profit disgorgement and to ban adware distribution. The marketing company had been illegally downloading adware and spyware on tens of millions of computers nationwide.

An affiliate company, Acez Software, was downloading adware with free screensavers. It agreed to pay $35,000.

Security analysts repeatedly have said the IT threat landscape has changed over the last couple of years, as motives for malware attacks became profit driven.

Vincent Weafer, Symantec's senior director of security response, said this week that some cybercriminals are making malicious activity their day jobs.

"It has become more professional," he said.

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