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A Look at Cybercrimes: Many Often Go Unreported

February 16, 2018, on Sex Crimes |

Albany criminal defense attorneys provide representation to clients who are accused of all different types of criminal offenses, including clients accused of cybercrimes. While some cybercrimes are heavily investigated and carefully tracked, such as those offenses that are related to using the Internet to obtain child pornography or to lure children for exploitive purposes, many other online offenses are never reported, frustrating investigators.

Examples of Unreported Cybercrimes

The New York Times addressed the issue of cybercrimes that frequently are unreported, sharing the experience of officers across the United States whose investigations were hindered by the lack of information about online crime.

For example, one chief law enforcement officer was attempting to tackle the opioid problem when he discovered that there was essentially no comprehensive data available about Internet sales of fentanyl. In response to the shortage of necessary information, he created a team of analysts to monitor online distributions of fentanyl and to look for patterns that could help police in the fight.

In another U.S. city, a sophisticated ring of thieves was using connected online channels to coordinate the theft and distribution of stolen iPhones, but detectives didn't put the big picture together.  Instead, they treated each theft as an isolated event.

And in another case reported on by The Times, investigators didn't have the necessary information on the size of an online extortion scheme in which a vast number of men are emailed with threats to disclose their infidelity, despite no proof of wrongdoing. The men are told they must pay or be exposed and many do, sometimes with Bitcoin.

In this particular case, the police learned about the scam only because a small number of faithful husbands reported the extortion attempt, but law enforcement officers were not able to get an idea of the scope of the crime.  And, because no one got arrested and the crime didn't really fit into any existing categories of criminal offenses, the police didn't input any information into a national database that would have been able to give other local departments a heads-up about the ongoing scheme.

The New York Times indicates that all of these cases reflect the shortcomings inherent in the fact that the law and the policing process has not necessarily been able to keep up with new developments in the digital world. In many cases, a lack of data hinders efforts to analyze crime patterns while a lack of established processes for tracking cybercrime makes it impossible for police to aggregate and report the data they need. This makes each cybercrime case harder for police to respond to.

However, while many cybercrimes do not ever find their way to investigators, this does not mean that offenses committed online will never come to the attention of law enforcement or that you will never face prosecution for them.  If you do find yourself arrested and charged for a cybercrime, Albany criminal defense attorneys can help you. You should call an attorney as soon as possible, because charges are often serious when you are caught and prosecuted for cyber offenses.

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