SWEETWATER COUNTY — As technology evolves, so do the many methods used to exploit technology for criminal purposes. Nearly all crime that once was committed by person, by mail, or over the telephone can be committed over the Internet.
Unfortunately, cybercrime can be particularly difficult to investigate and prosecute because it often crosses legal jurisdictions and even international boundaries, according to a Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office press release. The good news is that federal, state and local law enforcement authorities are becoming more sophisticated about cybercrime and are devoting more resources to responding to these threats.
In the last five years, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has investigated over 2.2 million complaints of email, ransomware, and tech support fraud.
Email fraud is a sophisticated scam that targets both businesses and individuals performing transfers of funds. Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that encrypts data on a computer making it unusable while a malicious cyber criminal holds the data hostage until a demanded ransom is paid. Tech support fraud involves a criminal claiming to provide customer, security, or technical support or service to defraud unwitting individuals, the release states.
Obviously if you have fallen victim to one of these scams by accidentally providing or exchanging important personal or financial information to these criminals, it is imperative that you make a formal report with your local police department or sheriff’s office as a first step in bringing these criminals to justice.
But, if you have been the target of one of these scams and were not victimized because you recognized it as a scam and did not provide or exchange any important personal or financial information, you should know that you can still file a complaint online with the IC3, which will thoroughly review and evaluate your complaint and refer it, if necessary, to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agency that has jurisdiction over the matter.
If you would like to learn more about today’s crime and trends in the digital age, or to report one of these scams, please visit the IC3’s website.