For as long as the Internet has been a part of our lives, people have found new ways to use it as a tool. Sometimes these uses are beneficial to others, but this is not always the case. In fact, it may be easier than ever for people to use the Internet in order to or in the course of committing a crime.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center at the FBI released a report detailing some of the most common complaints it received in 2013 in regards to Internet crimes. The report, which can be read in full by clicking here, sheds some light on what types of crime the FBI is focusing on.
According to the report, some of the most common crimes involving the Internet that were reported to the FBI include:
- Fraudulent online auctions
- False romantic relationships
- Impersonation of FBI agents
- Intimidation and extortion
- Identify theft
- Employment scams
The one thing that these and other cybercrimes typically have in common is the assumed anonymity people think they have online. However, agencies like the FBI have ways to track down IP addresses, collect user information and view chat and communication histories in order to identify the person or people involved in alleged criminal misconduct.
This also means that many people can be involved in an alleged scheme without fully realizing it or understanding that what they are doing is against the law. They may think they are just helping someone in need or getting in on a unique opportunity at making some easy money. Further, Internet crime laws are constantly changing to try and keep up with the rapid advancements in technology, and it can be nearly impossible to stay current on how laws do or do not apply in certain situations.
Federal agencies like the FBI dedicate an extraordinary amount of resources to investigating alleged crimes and trying to identify any person involved in them. What often happens in these cases is that they will find one person who may be involved in an apparent scheme and arrest that person in the hopes that he or she will agree to give up information on other people.
Because of how complicated cybercrime investigations, laws and prosecution procedures are, any person faced with charges involving Internet crimes will want to speak with an attorney to understand what options exist for defending against them.