ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL WHITE COLLAR CRIME CENTER, NEVADA IS 2ND IN THE NATION PER CAPITA FOR PERPETRATORS OF INTERNET CRIME..AND WE RANK 5TH PER CAPITAL FOR THE NUMBER OF VICTIMS.
WHY IS OUR STATE ATTRACTIVE TO INTERNET THEIVES AND WHY ARE WE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE?
It no longer takes a boiler room full of people making phone calls to contact a lot of victims. One guy at a computer can send millions of messages and he can do it from anywhere.
Greg Blair spends his days tracking internet crime. He says finding Nevada near the top of the list for perpetrators is surprising, but he thinks he knows how we landed there. "it's easy to set up a corporation and an address here in Reno and run a business from elsewhere, even overseas."
Nevada's friendly incorporation laws make it easy to claim a Nevada address and operate from elsewhere. It's an attractive convenience for legitimate businesses, but an opportunity for internet thieves.
And that makes investigations and arrests difficult. All the more reason, Blair says, for those using the internet to be forewarned. Scams abound in most inboxes today. Sometimes it's an e-mail posing as a message from eBay or Amazon.com or your bank. Sometimes its the deposed prince of an obscure African country who needs your help and your money to access his bank account. Sometimes it's the announcment you've won a lottery somewhere.....
But there are traps waiting for the bargain hunter as well. It takes Blair's young intern only moments to find an example of the latest scam...cars supposedly being sold on the popular Craigs List site at a fraction of their value.
Blair says it's people's greed that keeps the thieves in business. Caution and common sense are the best defense.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
And that's the best test. These scams keep catching people because no matter how suspicious it may sound, the thought that your ship has finally come in is very seductive.
The federal government maintains a good source of information on internet scams and how to avoid them...and a place to report them. It's the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Lots of good information. Just click on Hot Topics on our Home Page. You'll find a link.