Feds pursuing Internet fraudsters

* Federal agencies track down Internet criminals

Most of us think of unsolicited e-mail as simply an annoyance. But some people behind spam and other Internet schemes are criminals.

The federal government is now very actively pursuing those who intentionally mislead Internet users for their own fraudulent gain.

The Department of Justice, FBI and the Federal Trade Commission announced last month that they have arrested more than 130 people for such activities. Fifty of those were just arrested in the last 30 days.

The charges range from those illegally selling copyrighted material over the Internet to a fraudulent International dating service with more than 400 victims who lost $600,000 over three years.

While these schemes target the lonely, the naïve and the unlucky, these criminals also directly affect many businesses, because this fraudulent activity is traveling over the very same Internet your business traffic and/or business e-mail travels over.

For the government to find these Internet opportunists and then prosecute them, the Justice Department, FBI and FTC must actively monitor and track their activities over the public network, and that means more eyes on more Internet traffic.

Putting “Big Brother” thoughts and concerns aside, what about the millions of dollars the government is spending on tracking down these con artists? It all just seems like a necessary evil.

No one wants more monitoring of innocent users’ traffic, but you know that has to happen in the course of each investigation. And no one wants to have their taxes affected by the high cost of catching criminals that find new ways to rip us off. With that said, most people would likely say it’s a reasonable price to be paid to reduce the amount of criminal activity on the Internet today.

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