Summary: The guest on today’s show is Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who is excited to help make the Responsible Cyber Citizen program go national. Mark is in his eighth year as Utah’s Attorney General.
As citizens of the United States of America, it is each person’s responsibility to help make and keep this country safe, according to Shurtleff. One way to do that is to become a responsible cyber-citizen, who will do their best to take on an active roll in internet safety. It isn’t enough to just learn about being responsible online; a person also needs to teach others about it, and implement it to really be a responsible cyber-citizen.
One of the issues a responsible cybercitizen needs to be aware of, is identity theft. As people are doing more and more personal financial items online, like shopping and banking, it is becoming easier and easier for criminals to steal valuable information that are costing people a lot of problems. The Attorney General’s office has been running a program online that combats cyber-criminals for the last four years. One website that is involved in the program is a website, www.idtheft.utah.gov, which allows people to file a complaint about identity theft, which is then sent on to the proper police department and provides information about how to get their identity back, once it has been stolen.
The Attorney’s General office does prosecute fraud and identity theft cases. In the past they have successfully prosecuted cases where people have been used social security numbers and other information that they obtained online to buy homes or cars. Criminals get this information by “phishing.” This usually comes in the form of an e-mail from a service (such as EBay) which asks you to go to a website or call a number and verify your account information. The website you go to or the number you call seems legitimate and is usually identical to the real site, but in reality is from a cyber-criminal. Once you verify your information, they have it all at their fingertips and your identity has been stolen. This type of identity theft can be avoided by simply ignoring all e-mails that ask for your information. If you feel that it is perhaps a legitimate e-mail, then go to your phone book and look up the company’s number personally. Then you can call it and inquire. If it’s legitimate, they’ll be able to tell you. If not, then you’ll have saved yourself from identity theft.
Although there has been successful prosecution of these criminals, as a whole these types of crimes are difficult to prosecute. The con artists who commit these crimes are very capable of covering their tracks, so to speak, by moving their websites and bouncing them off of several different other websites so that it becomes next to impossible to find them. The Attorney General’s office has been working with other states and countries even to figure out how to prosecute these criminals better.
In the future, the Attorney General feels that more and more people will be turning to the internet for information and other resources. For this reason it is important for the government to stay up-to-date on the web. One way they have been doing this is by redoing their own website and creating others to help educate the public on issues of internet safety.
Another example of one of their programs that is doing just that is www. crimereports.com. By going to this website you can sign up to receive crime reports in your area and fraud reports as well. Armed with this information, people can be on the lookout for crime that are happening in their area and people are going to be safer. It is a combination of the well known “Neighborhood Watch” and the internet to bring it to the 21st century.
This program is just one more that proves that information is key. If people are aware of scams that are happening online or other issues that are found online, then those who know will be safer and help prevent them from happening. Prevention, as is often reiterated in the show, is key to stopping them from happening altogether.
With all this negative talk about the internet and horrible things that can happen, it is still important to remember that the internet can be an amazing place to learn and a great tool. Information travels very quickly online and this can be beneficial to many people. These benefits have come in a variety of websites, some of which have been talked about here as well as many others, which educates kids and teenagers about internet safety.
A lot of the show focused on internet-based crimes, however it is important to also remember that technology and the internet can also help stop and prevent crimes that are happening offline. One example is with prescription drug abuse. It is hoped that in the future a program will be available online which will track when someone has filled a prescription at any pharmacy. This would help stop the amount of people who fill prescriptions at a variety of pharmacy in order to get the most amount of the drug as possible.
Last, but definitely not least, it is important for the listeners to do their best to be responsible and report crimes as they happen and to learn as much as they can about things that are happening. By being informed we can band together as citizens to help prevent crimes and stop them from happening. We need to stop being complacent and start being proactive.
We would like to thank all of our guests on The CHWR Live Radio show! We feel it’s a honor and pleasure, to have them and others participate and contribute to the great content, advice and opinions on and in our CyberHood, we all live in… click the PDF to download your copy!
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