Cyber Crime: How Law Enforcement Agencies Protect Consumers

Cyber Crime: How Law Enforcement Agencies Protect Consumers

With the advent of technology and its increase presence in our professional and personal lives, there is a rise in cyber crime. Every year, more than 556 million people fall victim to some kind of cyber crime, according to Go Gulf. The breaches arise from computer viruses, malware, criminal insiders and other causes. Since these crimes cause a significant amount of revenue loss for individuals and companies, law enforcement agencies need to take additional safeguards and continuously improve their policies to protect the public. This requires not only an effort at the national level, but regional and local agencies must participate to ensure that consumer data is safe. The following agencies are protecting consumers against cyber crime by taking appropriate measures.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

If your computer is hacked, you should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This organization established the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) division which allows consumers to lodge complaints against a broad range of cyber crimes, including identity theft, online extortion, hacking, economic espionage and a variety of Internet related criminal activities. This unit originally only targeted computer fraud, but because of the growing variety of Internet crime, it expanded to other areas. Once a consumer files a complaint, an analyst reviews it and forwards it to the appropriate federal, state or local agency depending on the jurisdiction. The consumer is required to provide any physical evidence of the crime to enable the IC3 to investigate and determine how best to handle the case.

In addition, the FBI also offers guidelines for parents to protect their children from online predators. On their website, they list signs of a potential problems, which may include discovering pornography on their child’s computer or inappropriate sexual solicitations. If this is an issue, it can be reported to the FBI, the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children or to local law enforcement.

The Department of Homeland Security

In order to combat increased bank fraud and theft of credit card numbers, the Department of Homeland Security designated the U.S. Secret Service to oversee the Electronic Crimes Task Forces, which target national and international criminals who engage in cyber intrusions that involve fraud and data breaches that cross international lines. This renewed focus is more global which helps in creating a broader eye toward these crimes as they can be committed anywhere at anytime by anyone who has access to a computer. By broadening the spectrum, this agency can target their reach to not only national borders, but to international territories too.

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for monitoring and compiling data that focuses on identity theft. Criminals can steal social security numbers from discarded mail, from unsuspecting children and third parties who may have access to personal data. In order to make certain this data is protected, the FTC encourages people to use watch their identity closely and know about the dangers. This way if a breach is detected, you’ll know immediately so you can take further measures.

Local Police Departments

On the local level, police departments are looking to boost ways to protect citizens from cyber crimes. Although they are often the first line of defense to cyber crime, there isn’t the expertise present to deal with such issues and often they defer to the national agencies to handle these problems. However, because citizens will likely reach out to their local police, departments are hiring private cyber security firms to conduct digital investigations and are developing task forces that target cyber crime. The FBI is offering higher-level clearance to a few individuals in local police departments to help create a unified approach in finding the criminal.

This article by Rudri Patel a former lawyer turned writer and editor, wife, mother and observer. She has written for Brain, Child; Huffington Post; First Day Press; and Mamalode.

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