WHAT IS CYBERCRIME & HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE A VICTIM

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Everyday cyber crime AND OR identity theft threatens you, your family, and your peace of mind.   In the U.S. alone, there were Millions of victims of cybercrime or identity fraud last year. How do you know if you are a victim of identity theft or cyber crime.   First let's look at some text book definitions of cyber crime and identity theft.

 

 

DEFINITIONS OF CYBERCRIME

Internet crime: is defined as any illegal activity involving one or more components of the Internet, such as web sites, chat rooms, and/or email. Internet crime involves the use of the Internet to communicate false or fraudulent representations to consumers. These crimes may include, but are not limited to, advance-fee schemes, non-delivery of goods or services, computer hacking, or employment/business opportunity schemes.

Cyber crime: encompasses any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called hacking). Additionally, cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet. For example; hate crimes, telemarketing and Internet fraud, identity theft, and credit card account thefts are considered to be cyber crimes when the illegal activities are committed through the use of a computer and the Internet

Symantec draws from the many definitions of cyber crime and defines it concisely as any crime that is committed using a computer or network, or hardware device. The computer or device may be the agent of the crime, the facilitator of the crime, or the target of the crime. The crime may take place on the computer alone or in addition to other locations. The broad range of cyber crime can be better understood by dividing it into two overall categories, defined for the purpose of this research as Type I and Type II cyber crime

Type I cyber crime has the following characteristics:

  • It is generally a single event from the perspective of the victim. For example, the victim unknowingly downloads a Trojan horse which installs a keystroke logger on his or her machine. Alternatively, the victim might receive an e-mail containing what claims to be a link to known entity, but in reality is a link to a hostile web site.
  • It is often facilitated by crimeware programs such as keystroke loggers, viruses, rootkits or Trojan horses.
  • Software flaws or vulnerabilities often provide the foothold for the attacker. For example, criminals controlling a web site. may take advantage of a vulnerability in a Web browser to place a Trojan horse on the victim's computer.

Examples of this type of cyber crime include but are not limited to phishing, theft or manipulation of data or services via hacking or viruses, identity theft, and bank or e-commerce fraud.

Type II cyber crime, at the other end of the spectrum, includes, but is not limited to activities such as cyberstalking and harassment, child predation, extortion, blackmail, stock market manipulation, complex corporate espionage, and planning or carrying out terrorist activities. The characteristics of Type II cyber crime are:

  • It is generally an on-going series of events, involving repeated interactions with the target. For example, the target is contacted in a chat room by someone who, over time, attempts to establish a relationship. Eventually, the criminal exploits the relationship to commit a crime. Or, members of a terrorist cell or criminal organization may use hidden messages to communicate in a public forum to plan activities or discuss money laundering locations, for example.
  • It is generally facilitated by programs that do not fit into under the classification crimeware. For example, conversations may take place using IM (instant messaging) clients or files may be transferred using FTP.

LETS LOOK AT IDENTITY THEFT

ACCORDING TO THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION:

Federal Trade Commission (16 CFR Part 603 §603.2 (a,b)): "The term "identity theft" means a fraud committed or attempted using the identifying information of another person without authority. The term "identifying information" means any name or number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific person, including any--
  1. name, social security number, date of birth, official State or government issued driver's license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number;
  2. unique biometric data, such as fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation;
  3. unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code; or
  4. telecommunication identifying information or access device (as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1029(e))."

ACCORDING TO THE National Crime Prevention Council: "Identity theft or identity fraud is the taking of a victim’s identity to obtain credit and credit cards from banks and retailers, steal money from a victim’s existing accounts, apply for loans, establish accounts with utility companies, rent an apartment, file bankruptcy, or obtain a job using the victim’s name."

Laws and Statutes
*
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (US Code Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 47 §1028(a)(7)): This act made it a Federal crime when anyone, "knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law[.]"
*
Individual United States: All 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed statues criminalizing Identity Theft. In 40 states, depending on severity of the offense, Identity Theft may be a felony punishable by fines and jail time. For more information, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Identity theft is a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else. The term is relatively new and is actually a misnomer, since it is not inherently possible to steal an identity, only to use it. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. In many countries specific laws make it a crime to use another person's identity for personal gain.

Ghosting is a form of identity theft in which someone steals the identity, and sometimes even the role within society, of a specific dead person (the "ghost") who is not widely known to be deceased. Usually, the person who steals this identity (the "ghoster") is roughly the same age that the ghost would have been if still alive, so that any documents citing the birth date of the ghost will not be conspicuously incorrect if appropriated by the thief now claiming to be that person.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR A VICTIM

Did you give up any Personnel Identifiable Information over the telephone or over the internet?

Did you lose your wallet or purse?

Did a company you conduct business with lose you information?

Did you get a strange phone call requesting personnel information?

Did someone break into your home or mailbox?

Did someone Hack into business that you use and get your information?

Did someone hack into your computer?

Try to Google your  name or credit card number and see what happens.

These are just some of the definitions of cyber crime and ways you could become a victim of cyber crime or identity theft.  If you think you are a victim then follow the steps a this web page : Listcrimes Steps to Fighting Cyber crime

Sources:

http://www.symantec.com/norton/cybercrime/definition.jsp

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