Computer Crime Research Center


FBI-led unit will target cyber crime

Date: May 22, 2008
By: Vic Ryckaert

The FBI is leading a new Indiana-based effort to crack down on computer hackers, identity thieves and other criminals who use the Internet to find victims.

The Cyber Crime Task Force will consist of 10 full-time and three part-time investigators from the FBI and various state law enforcement agencies, Michael S. Welch, agent in charge of the FBI's Indianapolis office, said Monday.

Internet criminals often live in foreign countries and use the Net to prey on Indiana banks, businesses and residents.

"Many of these individuals that we are going to be targeting and pursuing are going to be offshore," Welch said.

Task force members also will come from the Evansville Police Department, the Indiana attorney general's office, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana State Police, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office.

Professors and students from Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security and its Department of Computer and Information Technology's Cyber Forensics Lab will assist the task force.

The task force will target crimes including Internet fraud, theft of trade secrets and child exploitation, Welch said. Cyber crime is a growing problem across the country, but Welch said Indianapolis' FBI office previously had only two agents devoted to catching Internet criminals.

"We have been subject to victimization in the past, but in a high-tech age, that now comes at us in a different way," said Attorney General Steve Carter, who is supporting the initiative.

Internet crime costs Hoosiers millions, officials estimate. The attorney general's office launched its own identity theft unit in January, Carter said. In less than five months, that unit has investigated 140 cases and recovered about $98,000, he said.

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