MIAMI – Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida recently convened a financial crimes training entitled “Taking the Byte out of Crime—Tools and Techniques for Fighting Internet Crimes Targeting Businesses and Individuals.”
More than 90 law enforcement officers and federal agents from Key West to Palm Beach met at Broward College Health Sciences Simulation Center in Davie, Fla., to enhance their knowledge base, discuss evolving internet crime schemes, hear about criminal case examples, and share investigative resources to combat crime. U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida expressed his gratitude to those in attendance and acknowledged the importance of federal, state, and local law enforcement partnerships to reduce internet crimes.
The financial crimes conference offered the attendees an invaluable training opportunity on areas to include business email compromise scams, virtual currency tracing, illegal narcotics in the mail stream, mail theft, cryptocurrency scams, and the federal fraud statutes applicable to these offenses. Representatives from the following federal agencies presented during the conference: the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida; FBI Miami; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG), Miami; and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, Miami.
Some of the important public safety takeaways are:
- Protect your personal identifying information (PII). If an investment opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers can send very realistic emails and account statements to make it look like you are involved in a legitimate investment. Online “friends” who discourage you from telling friends and family about your relationship or financial “investments” are also a red flag. Be cautious. According to the FBI, internet crime amounted to victim losses of $10.3 billion in 2022.
- Anyone who suspects they are a victim of internet criminal activity should report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center by clicking www.ic3.gov. Be sure to include as much information as possible — original emails, checks, receipts, financial transaction information, cryptocurrency addresses, websites, and phone numbers. The more information that is provided, the better chance the FBI has of recouping stolen funds or making an arrest.
- To combat potential theft, consider mailing any financial correspondence inside the Post Office lobby drop box or hand it to a clerk. The U.S. Postal Service has a free service called Informed Delivery www.usps.com which will send the user photos of the mail before it arrives. If you suspect U.S. Postal Service employee wrongdoing, please contact the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General hotline immediately at www.uspsoig.gov/hotline.
No one can prevent all crime but protecting your personal identification information, and verifying the identity of those you are dealing with online is a great place to start. The sharing of information across agencies gives law enforcement more avenues to solve crimes.
“Criminality is evolving and it’s up to law enforcement to update its investigative techniques,” said Law Enforcement Coordination/Community Outreach Section Chief J.D. Smith, U.S. Attorney’s Office. “We put on these trainings because we see the value in them. The trainings bring law enforcement officers/agents and prosecutors together to learn from one another. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been asked to host more of these conferences … and we will.”
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