Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats in our country today, notes the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to having a negative impact on consumer safety, cybercrime can hurt our economic prosperity.
Fortunately, a variety of government agencies are working hard to make sure to protect us from cybercrime. From local law enforcement to national organizations, steps are in place to protect us from online scammers. For example, the following agencies are protecting the little guy from cyber criminals:
The Department of Homeland Security
As Sectechno notes, the Department of Homeland Security is working with the United States Secret Service on the Electronic Crimes Task Forces, which is helps identify and stop cybercriminals who commit crimes anywhere in the world. The global focus is especially important because cybercrime can be committed just about anywhere; all that the bad guy needs is a computer. The Electronic Crimes Task Forces is especially combating the increase in credit card number theft and bank fraud.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center
In order to protect consumers from a wide variety of cyber crimes including hacking, identity theft and online extortion, the Internet Crime Complaint Center was established. As the Metropolitan Police Department notes, the IC3, as it is called, is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. Once someone files a complaint with the IC3 it is analyzed and forwarded to the proper local, state or federal agency. People who feel that they have been a victim of cybercrime can file a complaint or get more information by visiting the IC3 website. While the IC3 is great at working to help people who have already been a victim of cyber crime, consumers should also be proactive in keeping their personal information safe and doing whatever they can to protect themselves online. As LifeLock Unlocked notes, people who like to book their vacations or shop online need to be wary about who they are working with, and remember the old adage that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. In addition, LifeLock recommends deleting all unused online accounts and replacing any weak passwords with complex strong ones that will be harder for online crooks to guess.
Federal Trade Commission
The FTC is the government agency that gathers identity theft data; this includes cyber criminals who steal social security numbers from mail they find in trash cans to people who have their medical records stolen. In order to help victims of cybercrime, the FTC created IdentityTheft.org, which is an online tool that instructs victims of online scammers on what they should do after determining their personal information has been stolen. IdentityTheft.org also includes helpful advice on how people can recover from these crimes.
Local Police Departments
People who have discovered that their identity has been stolen should definitely report it to the local police department. However, while they will typically fill out a police report and help however they can, they may be limited to what they can do. Because so much cybercrime happens from remote places around the globe, many local agencies do not have the jurisdiction to do much to help. In some police departments, certain officers are working closely with government agencies like the FBI to learn more about cyber crime and how they can help protect their local citizens.