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Official Site of The LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT

News Release

Friday, January 25, 2002

Media Relations

Internet Crime Prevention

Los Angeles: The Internet places a vast amount of information and exciting experiences at our command. However, as the legitimate use of the Internet increases throughout our nation and the world, the wrongful use of the Internet to commit crime and victimize people also increases. The following Internet crime prevention information is meant to help you protect yourself and make your journey on the Internet as safe as possible.

The following are a few examples of some of the most common crimes committed via the Internet:

  • Fraud: A fraud artist can buy a powerful computer and a modem for less than $1000.00 and for $30.00 or less per month can establish and maintain a site on the World Wide Web to solicit consumers anywhere in the world. There is nothing new about Internet fraud, however, the size and potential market, relative ease, low cost, and speed with which a scam can be perpetrated has increased tremendously.

  • Pyramid Schemes: The Internet offers a fast lane for pyramid builders by facilitating a large-scale recruitment pool in little or no time. Pyramid schemes are generally prohibited because it is a mathematical certainty that the pyramids will collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. When that happens, most people in them lose their money.

  • Online Auctions: Generally, online auctions are safe person to person sales. However, occasionally sellers fail to deliver goods to the person who has purchased them. Thus resulting in the purchaser being defrauded of their money.

  • Teaser Pages: Some web pages "tease" individuals with promises of easy money for little or nothing. These scams include phony scholarships, travel programs, weight loss programs and others.

Commander Gary Brennan, Department spokesperson, states, "A world of information is available for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. Therefore, it is imperative those using the Internet to remember that, even though not all Internet advertisements and services are fraudulent, it is important to remain cautious and alert for deceptive practices while using the Internet. Doing so will greatly reduce the likelihood of you becoming a victim."

For additional information or to obtain a copy of crime prevention circulars, contact the Community Liaison/Crime Prevention Unit, at 213-485-3134, or visit our Web site at www.lapdonline.org and open the "Crime Prevention Tips" icon.