Internet Crime is a growing industry. The department continues to see individuals victimized by computer crime. Generally people are given the opportunity to purchase something at a reduced cost, making it an offer to good to pass up.
The internet can be a great place, or it can be a very dangerous place with threats everywhere. There are professional criminal organizations all over the world looking to take financial advantage of the unwary shopper.
Scams that we have dealt with over the last year include people buying vehicles through Craigslist/Ebay.
One variation is an ad about the need to get rid of a vehicle for a family emergency (medical expenses/military deployment, etc) at a discount price. Sometimes the vehicle is listed on Craigslist. Other times it is listed on Craigslist with a link to Ebay. When you click on the Ebay link, it brings you to a bogus Ebay site. You buy the vehicle and send a deposit through Western Union and the money goes overseas. Even if you had called the phone number and spoke to someone, the number is no longer in service. Internet based telephone numbers with local area codes can be purchased at an hourly rate now.
A second scam we have been having issues with is the call from a relative, usually a grandson, who states that they are in Canada or Mexico on school vacation and have run into a legal problem. The caller may represent that they are the child, or an attorney for the child. The callers are good and the person receiving the call usually unwittingly provide the scammers the necessary personal information to complete the scam. One variation goes “Hey Grandma, it’s me. I got in trouble in Canada and need money for court and I am embarrassed to call my parents.” Grandma will make the connection and say “Tommy” or what ever the grandchild’s name is and follow the instructions to help their ‘grandchild’.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a web site for victims of internet crime. If you have been a victim, or if you want more information about Internet crime and current scams, please visit the site.