Utah residents increasingly depend upon the Internet for work, communication and entertainment. But state and federal authorities are increasingly concerned about people using the Internet for criminal purposes. The federal government tracks reports of Internet-based fraud through an organization called the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.
According to the FBI’s “Internet Crime Report 2013,” the IC3 received 262,813 reports last year of many different types of fraud involving car auctions, romance, fake software, even scams in which people received emails that claimed to be from the FBI. Many of the people who complained said that the emails or other communications they received asked them for money in what appeared to be a legitimate transaction, but later revealed itself to be fraud. The total reported loss in these cases was nearly $782 million.
Many of these schemes appeared to have originated abroad. For instance, many people are aware of the email schemes involving people in Nigeria asking for money and promising to one day deliver more money to the American. However, many of the claims reported to the IC3 and investigated by the FBI occur within the United States.
Some such cases of alleged fraud could be covered under state law, but the decentralized nature of the Internet could easily make all such cases fall under federal law. That means that those accused of engaging in Internet fraud could find themselves facing federal charges and the mighty resources of federal prosecutors.
While the general public has little sympathy for those accused of engaging in Internet fraud or other white collar crimes, everyone who has been accused of a crime deserves a defense. Utah attorneys with experience defending clients against charges of fraud and other white collar crimes can help people to understand how the system works, what the charges mean and how to build an effective defense strategy.
Source: FBI, “Internet Crime Report 2013,” accessed Oct. 9, 2014