Courts are equally inhibited as the rest of the administration organizations in dealing with internet fraud and cyber crimes. According to Robert Jones, prosecutors avoid applying new laws and regulations to fight cyber fraud but instead choose to apply old statutes and legislations that have been tested and proved to work to ovoid pilling up of cases without sufficient evidence. Examples of internet frauds legislations in the U.S. target the following crimes: Wire fraud, Mail fraud, Financial Institution fraud, access devise fraud, computer fraud and abuse, identity theft and aggravated identity theft (Jones 2005). Internet fraud has registered the fewest criminal indictments because of the secrecy with which the crimes are committed.
Types of Internet Fraud
Phishing internet Fraud
However, the United States courts have dealt with a few cases involving phishing. For example, in California, a juvenile was arrested and judged in 2003 for setting up a falsified AOL site in which the accused paid $3,500 to settle charged and damages. Another instance is when a Nevada resident set up a fake auto dealer’s website where customers could log in and make payments whereby the owner of the website captured private information such as passwords and usernames of car dealers (Jones 2005). The culprit used the password and usernames information to steal a total of$47,000 U.S. dollars from the accounts whose information he had captured through the falsified website that are almost similar to the real website. Even though the criminal tried to cover up his tracks by using a fake the internet identity, when arrested, the criminal pledged guilty. In New York, Howard Carmack from Buffalo was forced to pay ISP Earthlink a total of $16.4 million for damages. Howard is believed to have sent 825 million messages between 20002 and 2004. In Virginia, a judge sentenced a spam criminal using anti-spam law that convicted the suspect with 9 years in prison (Jones 2005). The aim of the conviction is to deter spammers, con artists and identity thieves from taking advantage of innocent users through phishing mail, web page and spam messages.
Passing out large quantities of email and RSS feed is sometimes considered a crime if the recipients of the spam or solicited mail complain to authorities. Using of email and website pop-ups for advertisement is part of internet fraud that is classified under phishing. Phishing is a defined as a sophisticated scam whereby emails and message pop-ups are created claiming its source to be from a known business company. Since the mission of phishing is to mislead and convince the victim to give personal details or purchase some product or service, phishing thus interferes with social life in case where viruses are attached with phishing messages and pop-ups.
Anti-phishing tactics and mechanisms have bee deployed by various security companies to counter theft and crime activities. Internet service providers like Yahoo, Gmail, Paypal and eBay are using sophisticated antiphishing software to block out malicious persons’ agenda (Boone & Kurtz 2010).
Payment fraud is another form of internet fraud in which e-retailers and sellers place orders online for consumers to place their orders and pay through credit card by just entering credit card number and password identification information that can easily be stored and be used later by the online criminal gangs (Boone & Kurtz 2010).
Mail Order bribe fraud is another form of fraud that encompass all forms of scams that agencies masquerading as women to solicit money from men who use mail-order bride to date women. Usually a woman approaches countless men offering her love through messages in return for money and fare nut these women disappear never to be seen since it is easy to change the online nick name. Worse, some men pretend to be women while maintaining a virtual relationship with a man to defraud money (Moore 2010).
White collar crime
Most businesses stereotype theft with poverty and lack but today the white collar criminals are much worse since they steal using intelligent means. Financial crimes are tough to investigate since clear and convincing evidence is required by a court of law before the prosecution can pass a judgment (Goetz 2011). Financial crimes taking place in the internet are associated with full disclosure of information to a third party through the internet communications. Therefore, organizations and businesses ought to be aware when required to disclose information and when not necessary so as to avoid giving sensitive and secret passwords to internet hackers.
Tracing Internet Crime
Internet forensic argue that internet crime scene can be traced using the IP address of the server or layout files on web that act as fingerprints to the crime committed. Researchers have come up with a strategic method to impenetrate firewall and steal encrypted information stored at a remote computer. The process of stealing information remotely is called hacking. Therefore, it is very easy for a financial company operating electronic money transfer deals to become a target for hackers.
Impacts of Internet Fraud
Internet Fraud is a barrier to e-business, e-commerce and production. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center as reported by Louis E. Boone and David L. Kurtz (2010) maintains that the FBI and the White collar Crime Taskforce (IC3). IC3 has indicated that the majority of internet crimes target fraud related to online auctioning. Online auction fraud is the fraudulent sale and purchase of merchandise from the disallowed internet sellers without assurance of whether the website systems are protected from third party hackers (Moore 2010). Auction fraud can include a seller sending a buyer wrong merchandise followed by credit and debit card theft.
Application of internet in production and theft
Internet components have helped business to improve on productivity and profitability. One of the best business computer applications is the human resource information system that is an automated payroll besides satisfying other important human resource tasks assigned to the application according to the size of each company. However, lack of proper anti-phishing and spam protection can cause the HRIS to collapse if a virus is downloaded into the system by an innocent worker surfing internet. Therefore, though the internet has streamlined business functions, companies have to face the ever changing faceless internet fraud that usually increases costs of conducting business. The most common spam is the Nigerian 419 scheme that refers to phishing activity of sending millions of spasm mails to anyone asking for financial information claiming to look for a custodian to secretly move millions of dollars to the victims account (ICANN & WHOIS 2007). Con artists use such messages to con the public and even business that fall for the prank taking it for a big financial breakthrough.
Vulnerable groups to phishing and internet fraud
According to Patti C. Wooten Swanson, elderly people particularly above the age of 60 years are more susceptible to internet fraud than the young who easily Google to confirm and ascertain claims spreading in the internet networks (2009). An area of future research includes research to find out statistically out of 10 internet scams which is the most common? Thus one research determined that phishing comprised 24%, lotteries 19%, internet access services 19%, Nigeria 419 financial schemes 13%, and prizes and sweepstakes 13% of online scams respectively (Swanson 2009).
In conclusion, internet fraud is a reality that is affecting the most ignorant and most vulnerable in the society because hackers remain isolated and faceless though their IP address can be traced, those who use public internet access remain predominantly unknown and therefore will continue with phishing activities.