Cybercrime – an overview

MAJ portrait AvatarIt is hard to believe that I have a physics degree and that I learned all about how computers worked, how to install binary operating language, how to write  a couple of different programming codes and even how the solid state electronics found in micropchips were configured.  Why, because when computers started to become available as desktops I was the biggest cyber luddite to be found.  I was dragged screaming and kicking into the computer age and eventually succumbed to an Amstrad with no hard drive in about 1990.  Well my phisics degree was awarded over 30 years ago!

So now as a fraud investigator I realise that it is important to be familiar with all aspects of cybercrime.  All businesses use computers and it is hard to spend money now without some form of electronic device involved.

Two thirds of UK households use the Internet with online purchasing a massive growth area.  It is not surprising that the threat of cybercrime is on the increase and we fraud investigators need to be ready with the appropriate tools and knowledge to deal with it.

Much of the crime being carried out is the same old frauds simply using the electronic medium of email for communication.  For example the Nigerian 419 scams that solicit bank details or up front payments in advance fee frauds used to be posted out to contact details from telephone directories.  This was a costly (the price of stamps) and time consuming excercise.  Now with a press of the return key any number of 419 letters can be sent to unsuspecting recipients on an email database.

Other frauds being committed via the Internet include identity “phishing”, spyware to extract bank and credit card details and fraudulent selling sites.  Many valueless schemes for getting rich quick are available for the gullable and often greedy customer waste their hard earned savings on.  These selling schemes exploit the vast nature of the Internet – by optimising your web site for a keyword such as “easy money” you will receive 1000s of interested browsers every day.  It is a numbers game.  For every 1000 web site visitors you might get one person to part with their £50 or $100 for a “guaranteed business plan that works”.

Business opportunities that succeed require hard work.  Those that do and those that are merely scams are reviewed in Business Opportunity Market – before paying for that Import Export course it might be worth a quick bit of research!

About Mark Jenner

Mark Jenner is an experienced forensic accountant specialising in fraud and white collar criminal matters. He provides independent financial investigation and expert accounting witness services to police forces, fraud regulators and criminal defence lawyers, also providing assistance and solutions to organisations embroiled in financial disputes.

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