In 2015, a California man by the name of Anthony Renfrow (57) pleaded guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was caught enticing a susceptible 200 people to become something known as an “autosurf investor” with 14DailyPlus.com. Altogether, the scam cost these victims an outstanding $1.6 million! Renfrow pulled in victims with conference calls to lull them into believing that the program was legitimate and returns on investments would be made. However, there was no investment and the victims ended up losing their money. Anthony Renfrow faced 20 years in federal prison as well as a fine up to $250,000 for his actions.
Internet Crimes – FBI Involvement
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been asking the public for help with its immense computer crime issues over the years. The Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which started ten years ago, has since received two million complaints on white-collar Internet crime. In 2010 alone, 25,000 complaints were made on average each month for the entire year. Some of the most common complaints being filed revolve around impersonators acting like FBI agents, non-payment of items ordered on the Internet, and identity theft. Some other complaints include miscellaneous fraud, advance fee fraud, spam, credit card fraud, and overpayment. However, the crimes do not stop there. There are new crimes coming out each year to try and scam others through the Internet. These include telephone calls claiming that victims are delinquent on loans, online apartment scams to swindle consumers out of thousands, and fake e-mails revolving around disaster relief efforts. The problem lies within the fact that there are so many variations of Internet crimes. The FBI will not be able to warn against every one and cannot protect every person from becoming scammed if they do not know what warning signs to look for. This is why you should practice good security when using your computer and always make sure it is outfitted with the latest security software. Always learn how to protect your personal identification information as well as being suspicious of people who promise you things over the Internet in return for information they may be able to use against you.
So, how are computer crimes prosecuted when they occur? Since 1984, Congress has sought ways to handle these very specific types of crimes. In fact, Congress included in the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 provisions to address the unauthorized access and use of computers and computer networks as well as several other issues. Some of these crimes range from small misdemeanors to as serious as felonies. Obtaining National Security Information can gain somebody a prison sentence of 10-20 years, Recklessly Damaging by Intentional Access could get 1-10 years, and Extortion Involving Computers could get somebody 5-10 years in prison!
More Ways to Protect Yourself
- Learn as much as possible about an online seller, especially about the business they claim to be running.
- Determine what method of payment sellers are asking from the buyer.
- Make sure you are always purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.
- Never give out your credit card number online unless you are using it for a reputable source.
- Do not invest in anything that you are not absolutely sure about.
- Guard your account information carefully and be skeptical of individuals who represent themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials.
Computer crimes are extremely serious and can put many people at risk. This is why you should never give out important information to somebody who can use it against you or steal from you. However, what happens if you have been stolen from and aren’t sure where to turn? You should have a trustworthy attorney on your side that can guide you every step of the way. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today to find out more.