Broadly, cybercrime (or “computer crime”) is a term for any illegal activity that uses a computer system, the internet, or computer technology as its primary means of commission. Different types of cybercrime include cyberbullying, revenge porn, hacking, identity theft, financial fraud, child soliciting/abuse, and stalking.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. This could be in the form of mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, fake social media profiles, or embarrassing pictures, videos, websites. Check out our “Bullying/Cyberbullying” crime section for more information for victims of cyberbullying.
Revenge Porn consists of sexually explicit photos/videos/etc. that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured/videoed individual. It is often uploaded by ex-partners to shame or embarrass the pictured/videoed individual, or by hackers.
Hacking occurs when a person’s computer is broken into so that his/her personal or sensitive information can be accessed. Hackers use a variety of software to enter the victim’s computer and this can even happen from a remote location.
Identity Theft occurs when a criminal accesses data about a person’s sensitive information such as their bank account, credit cards, Social Security, debit card, etc. The criminal uses this information to get money or buy things online in the victim’s name. This not only results in financial losses but may also greatly affect the victim’s credit history.
Financial Fraud is often the way that a criminal obtains information to commit identity theft. It comes in a variety of forms, one of the most common being e-mail scams where the criminal asks for confidential information via e-mail. Another common type of financial fraud occurs when a criminal calls or sends a message to a victim pretending to be a relative in need of money and asks that the money be transferred to an account. Check out our “Financial Fraud” crime section for more crime types and how to deal with each.
Child Soliciting and Abuse generally occurs when criminals solicit minors via chat rooms for the purpose of child pornography.
Cyber Stalking is the use of any electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, group, or organization. It often comes in the form of a barrage of online messages and emails containing false accusations, defamation, slander, or libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten or harass. This crime is often paired with offline stalking.
Create long, strong passwords. Make them unique to each account to create a stronger barrier against online criminals. If you write the passwords down, store them in a safe location
Avoid anything suspicious. If you receive an email requesting your personal information, do not respond. Do not forward suspicious links – delete them or mark them as junk.
Make your social media accounts private. Make sure your profile is visible only to your contacts to that criminals cannot use your information against you.
Keep your security software updated. This can protect you from viruses or other security threats.
Know when a site is untrusted. If the link has “https:” rather than simply “http:” then it is generally considered a “security-enabled” website. When shopping or banking, make sure that the link starts with “https:” before you enter any private information.
Please use a computer at a safe location because your computer use may be monitored. If you are in danger, please contact 911. Click here for ways to manage your personal information online, as well as tips for following safe browsing procedures.In the event that you need to exit this site quickly, click on the "Escape" button on the top right corner of the navigation bar.
Tips for Using Technology: It is not possible to delete all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be unsafe to change your computer behaviors, like suddenly deleting your Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for activities, like looking up the weather or reading the news. Use a safer computer, such as a public computer at your local library, to research escape plans, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
Email and Instant/Text Messaging are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.