U.S. arrests 130, seizes $17 million in Internet fraud cases
By William McQuillen Date: May 17, 2003
WASHINGTON -- U.S. prosecutors have arrested more than 130 individuals and have seized more than $17 million in a continuing crackdown on Internet fraud and abuse.
State and federal officials this year have conducted 90 investigations involving 89,000 victims and losses of about $176 million, officials said in a progress report. Swindles include phony business opportunities, identity theft and fraudulent dating services, Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a news conference today.
Prosecutions have increased to keep pace with the growing use of the Internet and mounting opportunities for illegal businesses. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission warned that two-thirds of unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam, offering such products as diet pills, pornography and insurance may contain deceptive or false statements.
"Cyber swindles and dot-cons present new challenges to law enforcement," Ashcroft said. "The Internet enables criminals to cloak themselves in anonymity, making it imperative that law enforcement act more quickly to stop newly emerging schemes before the perpetrators can disappear in the World Wide Web." Full story
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