What to Do if You Think Someone Is Involved in a Computer Crime

hacker hands

Experts like Moorhead Law, computer crimes lawyers in Boulder, will make it very clear that cyber crime is a big deal. Such offenses can cost thousands of dollars in fines, and if they’re serious enough, might even land the perpetrator in prison.

Naturally, this raises the question — what should you do if you think you know someone who has committed a cyber offense? Even if you aren’t the victim, the correct course of action is to alert law enforcement or the proper authorities about said crime. 

How you’ll go about doing that may vary depending on the specifics of your scenario, however, so let’s take a look at the steps you might need to take if you suspect someone is involved with some sort of illicit activity online.

Reporting Scams, Frauds, and Cyber Crime

According to the US Department of Justice, the main federal agencies for reporting cyber crimes include: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Secret Service, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) , the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The specific agency you’ll need to contact will depend on the nature of the crimes in question. The DOJ includes a helpful list on their site which breaks down the main agencies to contact for specific crimes, along with access to their hotlines or internet tip lines. 

Regardless of which specific agency you’ll need to contact, though, there are some things in common that you’ll need to do in preparation for making that report, and one of the most important is making sure you’ve saved evidence of the crimes in question, such as:

  • Chat logs
  • Social media messages
  • Email correspondence
  • Receipts
  • Bills

It may be helpful if you know what some of the most common types of scams are as well, as this can help give you a better idea of what to look for when it comes to recognizing online crimes and saving the right types of evidence to hand over to authorities. Common scams include:

  • Computer/IT support scams
  • Email scams/phishing
  • Money transfer scams
  • Contest/prize scams
  • Scholarship/student grant scams
  • Impersonating government agencies/law enforcement

Remember, if you suspect that someone you know is engaged in these sorts of illicit activity, you should do the right thing and let the authorities know. From there, they’ll be able to take the appropriate action to minimize harm and get to the bottom of things.