Computer Crime Research Center


Scams and cybercrime

Date: March 14, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Dmitri Kramarenko

The St. Petersburg Times informed that Florida has a colorful history with scams, from selling swampland to unsuspecting tourists to boiler room phone schemes.

"Technology has made it so much easier," Breeden said. "One person can handle so many more victims and you don't have to set up a boiler room operation like you would have seen then to get volume."

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing categories of fraud, yet it doesn't have high-tech roots. Most ID theft cases begin with getting personal information from the garbage, stolen mail or a lost wallet.

Because investigations are time-consuming, where even a simple case might take 90 days to handle, many agencies don't make it a priority.

"Just a one- or two-man unit can't solve all identity theft problems in one area," said Mike Phillips, a special agent supervisor. "The bad guys are definitely ahead. I'd be lying to you if I told you they weren't."

In fact, a more pressing crime for FDLE is online auction fraud. People put up an item for sale, collect money from everyone who bids and then don't deliver the goods.

"I can't tell you how many people buy a $20,000 car sight unseen just based on some pictures posted on the Internet," said Breeden, adding that the agency often runs stings to track down auction fraud suspects.

Many complaints are civil matters, such as obtaining a title to a car or receiving goods that are flawed. Typically, FDLE has a $50,000 threshold before it will take on a financial crime. But for cybercrime, the agency lowered it to $10,000.

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2004-03-22 03:33:29 - this article has opened up my eyes. tom herbert
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