Federal Internet Law & Policy
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Fraud & Consumer Protection Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

Derived From: US DOJ, Internet Fraud (May 2001)

What Is Internet Fraud?

"The term "Internet fraud" refers generally to any type of fraud scheme that uses one or more components of the Internet - such as chat rooms, e-mail, message boards, or Web sites - to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to other connected with the scheme.

"If you use the Internet with any frequency, you'll soon see that people and things online tend to move, as the saying goes, on "Internet time." For most people, that phrase simply means that things seem to happen more quickly on the Internet -- business decisions, information-searching, personal interactions, to name a few - and to happen before, during, or after ordinary "bricks-and-mortar" business hours.

"Unfortunately, people who engage in fraud often operate in "Internet time" as well. They seek to take advantage of the Internet's unique capabilities -- for example, by sending e-mail messages worldwide in seconds, or posting Web site information that is readily accessible from anywhere in the world - to carry out various types of fraudulent schemes more quickly than was possible with many fraud schemes in the past." - US DOJ, Internet Fraud (May 2001)


The global nature of the Internet, and law enforcement experience in conducting Internet fraud investigations, have made it increasingly clear that law enforcement authorities need to work in closer coordination to have a substantial effect on all forms of Internet fraud. Two major steps that the Department has taken to foster national coordination and cooperation among law enforcement authorities on Internet fraud matters are the Internet Fraud Initiative and the Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

"Internet Fraud Initiative The Internet Fraud Initiative, which the Attorney General approved on February 26, 1999, is a national initiative by the Department of Justice intended to provide a comprehensive approach to combating Internet fraud. The Initiative has six main elements: -
(1) Developing information on the nature and scope of the problem, through coordination with the Federal Trade Commission on Internet fraud data, and exploring the development of methods for reliable estimates of the prevalence and incidence of Internet fraud; -

(2) Developing and providing specific joint training for prosecutors and agents on Internet fraud, through National Advocacy Center (NAC) training at basic and advanced levels, other federal law enforcement training programs, and coordination with joint training efforts by the National Association of Attorneys General and the American Prosecutors Research Institute for state and local law enforcement;

(3) Fostering the development of investigative and analytical resources to identify and investigate Internet-related fraud schemes, by supporting joint FBI-National White Collar Crime Center efforts to establish the Internet Fraud Complaint Center and forging closer ties and establishing referral procedures with other federal agencies;

(4) Providing and facilitating coordination among federal prosecutors, the Department and other federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies on Internet fraud investigations and prosecutions;

(5) Supporting and advising on Internet fraud prosecutions throughout the country; and

(6) Establishing a program of public education and prevention on Internet fraud, including encouraging the private sector to use technological solutions (such as biometrics) to prevent frauds, adding Internet fraud pages to the Department's Web site, and expanding public-private prevention efforts;

Internet Fraud Complaint Center The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a joint project of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IFCC's key functions for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies will be (1) receiving online complaints, (2) analyzing them to identify particular schemes and general crime trends in Internet fraud, and (3) compiling and referring potential Internet fraud schemes to law enforcement. In addition to FBI and NWCCC personnel, the IFCC will include agents and analysts detailed from the Internal Revenue Service and Postal Inspection Service.

In effect, the IFCC provides federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with a single point of contact - a "one-stop- shopping" approach - for identifying and referring Internet fraud schemes for criminal enforcement. Because criminal fraud schemes on the Internet, such as major investment or credit card frauds, can be initiated and concluded in a matter of days or even hours, traditional methods of investigating fraud schemes will no longer suffice. By co-locating agents and analysts from the FBI, the NWCCC, and other agencies, the IFCC can provide a substantial investigative and analytical resource available on a nationwide basis to law enforcement and regulatory agencies. 


See also Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (hacking computer with intent to defraud)

Govt Actions

Consumer Information

Other Frauds

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