Common Complaints


Computer crime can take many forms. It is an expanding criminal activity, with new methods developing every day. Listed below are some of the more common complaints affecting computer users today. Each complaint topic includes a brief description, a link to a more detailed explanation of that topic, and a link to contact should you find yourself the victim of that particular crime.


Cyberbullying/Cyberstalking


Cyberbullying (also called “cyberstalking”) is the use of a computer, email, phone, tablet, or other electronic communications devices to harass or cause undue emotional stress to another person. For a more detailed explanation, please refer to our Cyberbullying/stalking page at SecureFlorida.org. If you are the victim of a cyberbully, please contact your local law enforcement agency.


Internet Fraud


The Internet provides an easy medium for criminals to obtain money by deceiving people. Examples of Internet fraud include online auction and retail schemes using popular sites such as eBay.com or CraigsList.org. Criminals have even been known to send out mass emails pretending to come from a professional hitman who is hired to kill the recipient, but are really scams trying to scare individuals into paying out huge sums of money. The tactics used in these Internet frauds and scams change constantly. For more information on Internet frauds and scams, please visit our Email Practices page at SecureFlorida.org. If you are the victim of an online fraud, please contact your local law enforcement agency. You may also file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. The IC3 analyzes complaints to identify particular schemes and general crime trends, and refers potential Internet fraud schemes to law enforcement.


Nigerian Scam Letter


Nigerian scam emails, also known as 419 scams, promise a large sum of money as a reward for helping the sender of the email move millions of dollars from his homeland. These scams no longer originate solely from Nigeria, and the scam takes all kinds of forms nowadays. For more information on Nigerian scams, please see our Nigerian Scam page at SecureFlorida.org. The Secret Service asks if you have been victimized by the Nigerian scam to forward appropriate written documentation to the United States Secret Service.

US Secret Service
Financial Crimes Division
950 H Street N.W.
Suite 5300
Washington, DC 20223
Phone: (202) 406-5850
Fax: (202) 406-5031


Phishing


Phishing is an email scam in which the criminal sends out legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personally identifiable information from recipients. The message appears to come from a well-known, legitimate website, such as PayPal or Bank of America, and will state that there is something wrong with the recipient's account information. The email will provide a link for the recipient to click on which takes the recipient to a counterfeit website made to look exactly like the legitimate one. The recipient is then asked to enter personally identifiable information. For more detailed information on phishing scams, please refer to our Phishing page on SecureFlorida.org. You can report phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. If you are the victim of a phishing scam, please follow the steps outlined by the Anti-Phishing Working Group.


Identity Theft


Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity from a variety of sources, such as the theft of your wallet or purse, your trash, the Internet, or from credit or bank information. They may even approach you directly in person, by telephone, or in an Internet chat room and ask you for the information. To learn more about Identity Theft and ways you can help lessen the risks involved, please see our Identity Theft page at SecureFlorida.org. If you are the victim of Identify Theft, please be aware that FDLE is generally not a first responder agency and FDLE's investigative strategy regarding Identity Theft currently focuses on losses greater than $10,000, or if the target is located in Florida and has multiple complaints against them. Therefore, we recommend that you report this theft to your local police or sheriff's office.


Malware


Malicious software, or "malware" (including viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses), has become an increasing threat to both business and home users. Malware is used as a tool by hackers to remotely access computers as well as corrupt or destroy important data. For more information on the most common types of malware, please visit our Cyber Risks page on SecureFlorida.org.

Spyware


Spyware refers to any computer technology that gathers information about a person or organization without their knowledge or consent. Most commonly, it is put on a computer to secretly collect information about the user that is then sent to advertisers and other interested parties. More detailed information about this topic can be found on our Spyware page at SecureFlorida.org. As of this writing, there is no federal anti-spyware law in effect, nor is there one for the state of Florida. If you get spam email that you think is deceptive, you may send it to the Federal Trade Commission's spam database at spam@uce.gov. The database serves as the basis for FTC investigations. Be sure to include the full email header so that law enforcers can follow up on your complaint.


Spam


Spam is simply unsolicited bulk email. Unsolicited means that the recipient did not grant permission for the message to be sent, and bulk means that the message was sent as part of a larger collection of messages. Spam remains a problem because advertisers have no operating costs, and it is often difficult to hold senders of spam accountable for their unsolicited mass mailings. For more information about spam email, please see our Spam page at SecureFlorida.org.

Internet Hoaxes


Hoaxes are either deliberate or unintentional email messages warning people about a phony virus, or otherwise trying to deceive the email recipient. Some hoaxes create as much trouble as viruses by causing massive amounts of unnecessary email, but most are simply annoying. Please visit our Internet Hoaxes page at SecureFlorida.org for more information.