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Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches

Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches

by Felicia Donovan, Kristyn Bernier

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Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches offers one of the most insightful views of the latest criminal threats to the public: cyber crime. This book provides a good primer on how your personal information can be easily obtained by some of the folks you least want to have it.”

–Maureen Boyle, crime reporter,



Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches offers one of the most insightful views of the latest criminal threats to the public: cyber crime. This book provides a good primer on how your personal information can be easily obtained by some of the folks you least want to have it.”

–Maureen Boyle, crime reporter,

The Enterprise of Brockton, MA

“Experts Felicia Donovan and Kristyn Bernier pull no punches in explaining the dangers lurking on the Web, from identity appropriation and theft to using new technology and the Internet to facilitate real-life stalking. Parents especially will be shocked at how easy it is for predators to target and solicit children online.

“By clearly explaining the dangers that lurk online and highlighting practical tips to minimize your risk, the authors have created a book that not only educates but empowers readers to protect themselves.”

–Jennifer Hemmingsen, columnist and former public safety reporter,

The (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Gazette

Written by leading cyber crime investigators, Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches takes you behind the scenes to reveal the truth behind Internet crime, telling shocking stories that aren’t covered by the media, and showing you exactly how to protect yourself and your children. This is the Internet crime wave as it really looks to law enforcement insiders: the truth about crime on social networks and YouTube, cyber stalking and criminal cyber bullying, online child predators, identity theft, even the latest cell phone crimes. Here are actual cases and actual criminals, presented by investigators who have been recognized by the FBI and the N.H. Department of Justice. These stories are true—and if you want to stay safe, you need to know about them.

• Learn how today’s criminals can track your whereabouts, read your emails, and steal your identity

• Find out how much of your personal information is already online—and how to keep the rest private

• Learn how cyber stalkers really think—and how to protect yourself from them

• Protect your laptop, your iPod, and your precious data from getting stolen

• Encounter the “dark side” of Internet dating

• Discover the hidden crime wave on today’s specialized social networks

• Uncover the cell phone “upskirters” and “downblousers” —and the technicalities that keep them out of jail

• Follow cyber crime specialists as they investigate and catch online sexual predators

• Get the real truth about phishing, pharming, criminal spam, and online scams

• See how investigations really work—and why TV crime shows often get it wrong!

• Walk through your own personal, step-by-step, online safety checkup

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Read an Excerpt

PrefaceA Message from the Authors

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

—Edmund Burke

Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches is an important part of your personal safety arsenal. The reality these days is that you are far more likely to become a victim of a cyber crime than a physical crime. Preventing victimization online can translate into preventing yourself from being vulnerable offline as well. Studies show a significant correlation between stalking and physical abuse, sexual assault, and even homicide; therefore, every step toward education, awareness, and prevention can make a huge difference in regard to your safety.

Many books are now available about cyber crime and online safety, but few are written from the perspective of two women with over 25 years of combined law-enforcement experience who understand both the limitations of law enforcement and the court system in prosecuting cyber crime—as investigators, experts, and victims of cyber crime.

For example, the reality of the legal system today is that prosecuting a cyber stalker, even if a guilty verdict is obtained, does not mean the offender will necessarily spend a great deal of time behind bars—if they're even sent to prison at all. This does not take into account that only a fraction of these incidences are ever reported, let alone prosecuted. It is estimated that 1.4 million people are stalked in America every year. Only 42% actually report their stalker to the police, with 57% saying that they did not initially report for fear of being ignored or laughed at (University of Leicester, 2005). It is estimated that over 80% of stalking incidences on college campuses are not reported to the police (National Victimization of College Women, Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000). That's the painful reality we see day in and day out in our real jobs.

Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches chronicles the real-life stories of fighting cyber crime, how it can be prevented, and the human component of victimization—putting a face on the issues and telling the stories of victims that are never told .

We'll show you the shocking tools readily available to cyber stalkers and identity thieves. This book becomes an important tool in your personal safety arsenal by providing information in an easy-to-understand format with resources for further investigation.

We'll reveal tools available to track someone's whereabouts—both in person and online—including many that can be installed in under 5 minutes! It covers important issues such as whether it's legal for someone to covertly take your picture with a digital camera and post it online. We'll provide specific websites for you to get a better idea of how much of your personal information is already available online, plus teach you how to limit your information from getting out there in the first place. These are the tools of cyber stalkers, but we want you to be aware of them so you know exactly how a cyber stalker thinks. For a cyber stalker, information is dominance and power, and we show you the websites they use and the lengths they'll go to obtain that power. CCF shows how a few simple steps can reduce your web whereabouts from being tracked. We introduce the concept of online voyeurism while explaining the laws about digital privacy, and we give you easy steps to follow to shore up your computer's defenses to prevent identity theft. CCF covers the most recent stories and technologies to ensure your personal online safety. We even share our own personal experiences, including becoming victims of cyber crime and trying to "catch our own predators." We also give you and your children important safety tools to use.

Cyber Crime Fighters: Tales from the Trenches covers the impact of social networks, the migration of cyber crime to the cell phone platform, the Adam Walsh Act, legislation to stiffen penalties against sex offenders, voyeurism, YouTube as a virtual ground for all kinds of criminal activity, and the horror of online dating gone bad.

If you were to install a security system in your house, does it guarantee you'll never get burglarized? Of course not, but it can significantly reduce the chances of someone breaking into your house. You still need to be vigilant and mindful. Consider this book an adjunct to your personal safety system. It is the flashing red alert to advise you that the email that sounds too good to be true, is. It is the caution flag that let's you know someone's demeanor could easily lead them to becoming an online stalker. It is the resource that shows you what tools are available that make it easy for someone to track your whereabouts, read your email, and steal your identity. We even show you ways to protect your iPod and laptop from getting stolen.

The purpose of this book is not to scare anyone away from going online, but rather to educate readers on how to go online and be safe. The Internet can be a very safe place with some basic knowledge of what is not safe and how to avoid it.

Stay safe.

—Felicia and Kristyn

Note - Whenever possible, we have used actual cases that have been publicly disseminated. In many cases, we have identified offenders by name. We do not, however, identify victims by name, even if their names were publicly released. We have changed the names of victims in order to protect their identity. We feel very strongly about not revictimizing anyone for the sake of this book.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Felicia Donovan is a recognized law enforcement technology and cyber crime expert who spent ten years at a New England police department and received recognition from the FBI on her work related to cases. The author of the popular The Black Widow Agency series, she has been featured in Law Enforcement Technology magazine.

Kristyn Bernier, a detective and 15-year veteran of a New England-based police department, currently specializes in undercover work fighting Internet crimes. As an investigator with the Northern New England Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, she has been honored by the N.H. Department of Justice.

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