Fraud is no laughing matter, but some bold outlaws have invented loony scams. Popular Internet scams in 2009 involved hitmen, economic stimulus funds, astrological readings, work-from-home job sites and fake pop-up ads for antiviral software. But it's the hitman scam that caught my eye.

Imagine receiving an e-mail from someone claiming to be a member of an organization such as the "Ishmael Ghost Islamic Group." He informs you that he was hired to kill you. But if you pay him $800, he'll cancel the hit. It's hard to believe someone would fall for such a scam!

But according to a 2009 Internet Crime Report issued by U.S. Justice Department's Internet Crime Complaint Center, people have fallen for it. The report also states that online crime complaints increased substantially last year (jumping 22.3 percent, while total losses linked to online fraud reached almost $560 million).

Other common Internet-scam complaints for 2009 involved identity theft, spam, auction fraud, non-delivery of merchandise, overpayment fraud, credit card fraud, computer damage and scams involving FBI imposters.