In the days before everyone had a smartphone and a laptop, local area stores, and malls were shut down on Thanksgiving and days called “Cyber Monday” did not even exist. But then people like Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, and Steve Jobs made certain that most, if not all, California residents, not to mention a good portion of the rest of the world, have access to computer technology. Now holiday shoppers spend over three billion dollars on Cyber Monday, not to mention the billions spent during the rest of the holiday season. With shoppers everywhere using computers and cell phones to finish their online shopping, all Ventura and Los Angeles County residents should take steps to protect themselves from cybercrime, traditionally referred to as computer fraud. A couple of steps may include looking out for:
- Unfamiliar Emails: If you receive an email this holiday season that offers unusually low prices or items that are sold out everywhere else, consider that the communication may be a cybercriminal's trap, especially if you did not request the information. Cybercriminals worldwide can use these types of fake emails to infect your computer with malware or even to obtain your personal information.
- Online Retailers: It can be tempting to search the web for that gift your child or other relative really wanted for the holidays. Unfortunately, the desire to find the perfect gift can lead some of us to online retailers with whom we are not familiar. Be certain to only access familiar websites that you trust and to try to avoid any that may have red flags indicating that they have been established by cybercriminals.
The United States Department of Justice offices of the United States Attorneys has stated that cybercrime is “one of the greatest threats facing our country, and has enormous implications for our national security, economic prosperity, and public safety” and cybercrime costs are projected to reach 2 trillion dollars in the next two years. However, in the digital era, cybercrime is not just a threat to the United States. The European Union's law enforcement agency reports that non-cybercrime occurs less frequently that cybercrime in some EU countries.
Southern California Cybercrimes
The state of California takes cybercrime very seriously. The Office of the Attorney General maintains an "Ecrime" unit that investigates and prosecutes large scale identity theft and technology crimes. The California Department of Justice developed the California Cyber Crime Center known as C4. The C4 center supports the Department of Justice as well as local law enforcement to investigate, prosecute and prevent cyber security crimes including:
- online ID theft
- data compromises
- computer system hijackings
- communications fraud
- data theft
- unauthorized access to computers
- altering or damaging computer software or data bases
If you are investigated or charged with any type of cybercrime, you need an experienced cybercrime and computer fraud defense attorney. The penalties for computer fraud and other cybercrime in California are severe. Depending on the exact nature of the activity and the amount of damage sustained, a prison sentence of at least three years can be imposed as the result of a conviction. Our Pasadena computer fraud defense attorney can review the specifics of your case and plan an effective defense strategy.
Contact an Oxnard Computer Fraud Lawyer
Nationwide, California ranks first for the largest amount of losses associated with cybercrime. One United States Department of Justice study concluded that the state of California lost $98,564,264.00 in 2015.The state of Florida was a distant second for the same year with $58,020,800 in losses. To minimize these escalating losses, federal and state officials are cracking down on those who commit computer fraud and cybercrime. If you are being investigated or have already been charged, give us a call at the Kann California Defense Group. We are ready to work with you today. Call our toll-free number 888-744-7730 or use our online contact form.
 Forbes Spending on Cyber Monday
 United States Department of Justice
 Cybercrime costs
 California Cyber Crime Center
 United States Department of Justice 2015 Internet Crime Report