There are many ways in which a person can use a computer to commit a crime. For instance, one may use an internet connection in Illinois to bully or otherwise harass individuals throughout the world. Computers can also be used to commit offenses such as identity theft and creating or sharing child pornography. The Department of Justice has a task force that helps parents protect their children from becoming victims of online predators.
As an increasing number of people in Illinois rely on digital identity information for their daily lives and financial management, allegations of identity theft have become more common. In many instances, identity theft cases are investigated at the federal level, especially as computer fraud is often associated with these charges. Identity theft can encompass a wide range of accusations; it can refer to email phishing attempts that seek to gain credit card or banking information, false IDs for immigration purposes or new identities for fugitives.
The casual sharing of a computer access password between employees in Illinois could set the stage for a possible charge of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The federal government originally intended this law to penalize hackers who accessed protected computer systems. However, numerous cases against employees accused of unauthorized access to company computers have produced mixed results among federal appeals courts.
Twenty-four people have been indicted for allegedly transporting drugs into Illinois using Amtrak Express trains. Authorities investigated the alleged drug transportation scheme for several years, calling their investigation Operation Derailed. Investigators believe that wholesale quantities of heroin and cocaine were moved from Los Angeles to Union Station in Chicago and then sold in the Chicago area.
Few can argue that computers have changed people's lives for the better, connecting the entire world via a convenient communication platform as well as providing a boundless source of both information and entertainment. Along with the numerous benefits of computers, however, there are drawbacks, some so severe that they can endanger an Illinois resident's identity, credit score and overall safety. Those who use computers regularly should be especially vigilant about what they share online in order to avoid potential fraudulent use.