Law Enforcement

FBI ramps up IC3 visibility

The FBI is putting a more public face on its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) with a billboard campaign to increase awareness of the center as a mechanism for reporting suspected internet crime to the FBI.

In an Aug. 5 statement, bureau officials said they have begun a new campaign of digital billboards featuring IC3's contact information in the territories of a number of field offices nationwide to increase awareness of its resources for crime fighters.

Officials said the number of complaints to IC3 about internet fraud had increased in 2015, but anecdotal evidence "strongly suggests" that a lot of nefarious online activity is not being reported because victims don't know where to turn or are embarrassed to admit they have fallen for scams.

Officials said they hope the campaign will stimulate more reports and data from the field to help paint a more accurate picture of internet crime and advertise FBI capabilities to other law enforcement agencies.

Bureau officials also want the outreach program to jump-start more data-sharing partnerships under IC3's Operation Wellspring initiative, which connects state and local law enforcement with the FBI's data-processing capabilities.

FBI field offices taking part in the billboard campaign include Albany and Buffalo, N.Y.; Kansas City, Mo.; Knoxville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York City; Phoenix; Oklahoma City; Salt Lake City; and San Diego. All participate in Operation Wellspring.

Through that project, local law enforcement agencies can tap the FBI's complaint database and its analytical capabilities to create intelligence packages for their geographic regions, including local criminal enterprises and criminals. The FBI said the database can link different methods of criminal operations back to allied or central organizations and sniff out layers of criminal activities.

In 2015, according to the FBI, IC3 made 165 referrals to eight cyber task forces, which opened 39 investigations. The 165 referrals contained about 3,650 individual complaints, and the total victim loss was roughly $55 million.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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