Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander’s fight against Internet crimes has received an overwhelming response from the citizens of Summit County.

If you have been a victim of an Internet crime, you are urged to contact your local law enforcement authorities and forward the suspicious e-mails to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. The suspicious e-mails will be reviewed by the Sheriff’s Office investigators. The appropriate local, state, and federal agencies will be provided a copy of your e-mail.


Identity Theft- Identity theft occurs when someone acquires another's personal information without their knowledge to commit theft or fraud. Identity theft is a vehicle for perpetrating other types of fraud schemes. Typically, the victim is led to believe they are divulging sensitive personal information to a legitimate business, sometimes as a response to an email solicitation to update billing or membership information, or as an application to a fraudulent Internet job posting.

Spam- Spamming is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages. The most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam.

Phishing- Phishing is an attempt to criminally and fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, account numbers, passwords, and credit card details, by posing as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Computer Intrusion (Hacking)- Illegally accessing other people's computer systems for the purpose of destroying, disrupting or carrying out illegal activities on their computer or network.

Child Exploitation- This refers to individuals that use the Internet to victimize children. The methods of victimization include, but are not limited to: child pornography, online solicitation for sex, and child sex tourism. 

Internet Harassment (Cyberstalking)- Cyberstalking is an extension of the physical form of stalking, where electronic mediums such as the Internet are used to pursue, harass or contact another in an unsolicited fashion.

Internet Fraud (Financial)- The term Internet fraud generally refers to any type of fraud scheme that uses one or more online services - 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 others connected with the scheme. Some of these schemes include auction fraud, credit card fraud, lottery scams, Nigerian 419 letters, and re-shipping schemes.



Internet Auction Fraud

Auction fraud involves fraud attributable to the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale through an Internet auction site or the non-delivery of products purchased through an Internet auction site. Auction fraud is one of the most reported computer crimes.

Consumers are strongly cautioned against entering into Internet transactions with subjects exhibiting the following behavior:

  • The seller posts the auction as if he resides in the United States, then responds to victims with a congratulatory email stating he is outside the United States for business reasons, family emergency, etc. Similarly, beware of sellers who post the auction under one name, and ask for the funds to be transferred to another individual.

  • The subject requests funds to be wired directly to him/her via Western Union, MoneyGram, or bank-to-bank wire transfer. By using these services, the money is virtually unrecoverable with no recourse for the victim.

  • Sellers acting as authorized dealers or factory representatives in countries where there would be no such dealers should be avoided.

  • Buyers who ask for the purchase to be shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country should be avoided.

  • Be suspect of any credit card purchases where the address of the card holder does not match the shipping address. Always receive the card holder's authorization before shipping any products.

Avoiding Internet Auction Fraud

Understand as much as possible about how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller's obligations are before you bid.

Find out what actions the web site/company takes if a problem occurs and consider insuring the transaction and shipment.

Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address. If it is a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller/business is located.

Examine the feedback on the seller.

Determine what method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment.

If a problem occurs with the auction transaction, it could be much more difficult if the seller is located outside the U.S. because of the difference in laws.

Ask the seller about when delivery can be expected and if there is a problem with the merchandise is it covered by a warranty or can you exchange it.

Find out if shipping and delivery are included in the auction price or are additional costs so there are no unexpected costs.

There should be no reason to give out your social security number or driver’s license number to the seller.


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