Cyber fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes across the nation. Scammers are increasingly using e-commerce websites like eBay and craigslist, or social media platforms like Facebook to prey on consumers.
Cyber fraud is a newer form of telecommunications fraud or wire fraud, where the theft or scam occurs by electronic communication. In 2010, 7,304 Ohioans reported being victims of cyber fraud, losing more than $10 million.
To help county prosecutors and local law enforcement prosecute such cases, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has asked lawmakers for more authority to investigate cyber fraud crimes and prepare cases for local law enforcement.
Proposed legislation will give the Attorney General's Office the ability to subpoena phone records, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and payment information allowing the Attorney General's Office to prepare these cases for prosecution by a county or special prosecutor and assist local law enforcement with any investigation.
Senate Bill 223, which was approved unanimously by the Senate in late November, would give the Attorney General’s Office authority to investigate cyber fraud crimes and prepare cases for local prosecution.
Follow these tips to prevent cyber fraud:
- Never wire money or send a prepaid money card to a stranger.
- Be careful before giving out your personal information.
- Research reputations before doing business with an unfamiliar business.
- Be wary of clicking on pop-up ads or links.
- Beware of imposters pretending to be your friends or family members.
- Deal with local sellers and buyers.
Consumers who believe they are victims of cyber fraud should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-282-0515 or online at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.