“Hello I am I. Net Crook, a member of the royal family of Nonexistia. Our government was recently overthrown and I need to hide a substantial amount of money”. How many of you have received e-mails like this one? E-mail scams started right along with the internet. These crimes have been very difficult to investigate and prosecute in the past. It used to be there was virtually no help for victims of these crimes. That has changed thanks in part to the “Internet Crime Complaint Center”, also known as “IC3”. IC3 is a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
IC3 serves as a way to receive, develop and refer complaints regarding cyber crimes. IC3 brings together authorities at the local, state, federal, and international levels to investigate complaints of cyber crime. The website provides a place to report suspected cyber crimes as well as a place to get information about the latest scams. It also provides a central referral mechanism for law enforcement to investigate crimes which usually involve multiple jurisdictions.
Some examples of cyber crimes are Internet Fraud, Identity Theft, Computer Intrusions, Industrial Espionage, and International Money laundering. Spoofing, Phishing and Pharming are attempts to get personal information or send you to a bogus website. To keep safe, never follow links in e-mails. Type the web address of the site you want to visit in the address bar of your browser instead.
If you feel you have been the victim of cyber crime you can log on to www.IC3.gov and simply follow the “File a complaint” link in the section “Filing a complaint with IC3” on the main page. You can also get information on the latest scams and other cyber crimes. Happy surfing and stay Cyber Safe!
Community Service Officer John Thomas is a long time resident of Temecula and is a Crime Prevention Officer with the Temecula Police Department Crime Prevention Unit. He can be reached at (951) 506-5132.