Don't Be a Victim of Cyber Crime

December 5, 2008

The FBI announces its most recent addition to the FBI’s Top Ten Fugitives list, Edward Eugene Harper, wanted for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, sexual battery of two children, and cyber crimes.

Audio Transcript

Mr. Schiff: Hello I’m Neal Schiff and welcome to Inside the FBI, a weekly podcast about news, cases and operations. Today we’re talking about Cyber Crimes…

Mr. Painter: “Some of these scams are pretty sophisticated so that when you get one of these unsolicited e-mails, and they have an attachment, and you open that attachment, it will download something into your computer and you may not realize it and your software may not pick it up.”

Mr. Schiff: And we’ll also let you know about a very dangerous man now on the FBI’s Top Ten list who’s accused of molesting children…

Mr. Koziol: “The most recent addition to the FBI’s Top Ten Fugitives list is Edward Eugene Harper. He’s wanted for the federal offense of Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution as well as the underlying state offense of Sexual Battery of two children.”

Mr. Schiff: But first, Cyber Crimes. Chris Painter is the Acting Deputy Assistant Director in the FBI’s Cyber Division who says although there are Cyber Crimes and cyber criminals out there, you shouldn’t stay away from the Internet…

Mr. Painter: “The Internet is a great place to do shopping and a great place to communicate. But there are a lot of dangers out there. One thing I would stress is that to use the same kind of caution that you would in the real world as you would as when you use the virtual world. For instance, when you get an offer that looks like it’s too good to be true, well, it’s probably too good to be true, and use that same kind of skepticism if you were offered something in the real world. When you get an e-mail from someone you don’t know, be very cautious with that e-mail. Don’t click or open attachments when you get them because they could have not just a fraudulent scam that they are trying to sell you on, but they could contain some malicious code, some bad computer code that can infect your computer and cause a whole host of problems for you.”

Mr. Schiff: Would virus checkers work on something like that if you’re opening an attachment?

Mr. Painter: “They could. It all depends on whether that virus scan that you’re using is up-to-date. A lot of people don’t update their virus scans often enough. They don’t run the kind of spyware programs to search for spyware on their computers. And frankly, some of these scams are pretty sophisticated so that when you get one of these unsolicited e-mails, and they have an attachment, and you open that attachment, it will download something on your computer and you may not realize it and you’re software may not pick it up.”

Mr. Schiff: What’s the deal with cyber criminals. Are they trying to annoy us, steal our money, or both?

Mr. Painter: “Well, I think both. I think there’s been an evolution over the past 15-years where, when I first started doing this, the cyber criminals were really focused on just proving they could do it; just bragging; just to annoy us as you put it. But now more and more the motivating factor is money just like any other crime. They want to get money and they want to stay under the radar. They don’t want to be noticed but they want to get all of your money or as much as they can and they want to attack companies and they want to attack individuals and they want to steal your identity; they want to steal your credit card numbers. That’s their main motivation both here in the United States and around the world.”

Mr. Schiff: There’s a lot of scams out there and one that has taken people into places they really don’t want to go is called Phishing, P-H-I-S-H-I-N-G. Painter says be very careful …

Mr. Painter: “That’s where you send out an e-mail where someone clicks on a link and it takes you to what looks like your bank’s web site and they ask you for personal information; they ask you for your account information. That’s been going on quite some time but those have become more and more sophisticated over time. There was one recently which sent out a message purportedly from the Deputy Director of the FBI, and of course it wasn’t, asking for money or vouching for certain securities that you were supposed to then send money to get more money. This is a common scam where they say ‘you’ve won a certain amount of money; send us this smaller amount of money to secure it and we’ll send it to you.’ Of course there’s nothing there.”

Mr. Schiff: What is the international aspect of the battle against Cyber Crime?

Mr. Painter: “Unlike a lot of traditional crimes, cyber crimes are almost always borderless. It doesn’t respect state boundaries; it doesn’t respect city boundaries and it doesn’t respect international boundaries. More and more we’ve seen online organized criminal groups operating from almost anywhere in the world. For instance, one of the things recently that we did, there was a big operation, a criminal organization operating out of Romania and we had agents from the FBI’s Cyber Division who were stationed over in Romania working with the Romanians and that were able to take down this network of criminals that were victimizing both Romanians and U.S. citizens.”

Mr. Schiff: In West Virginia, the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center are working together at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3. The Acting Chief of IC3 is Charles Pavelites and he says that a lot of law enforcement agencies work together investigating cyber crimes as part of task forces …

Mr. Pavelites: “Vehicles and other things are pooled together so that when there is an emergency or a large scale crime or even if they just want to work the major cases together, the resources are pooled in a task force in an environment where everyone can just reach out and talk to each other. You don’t have call across the city or the state to get a hold of the state police or the city police or the Secret Service or the Postal Service. There’s a representative right there that have meetings, that coordinate and decide how you’re going to prioritize and who’s going to take the lead on investigations. As for our part, the IC3 was started in 2000 as a public/private partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center which is a private, non profit organization that does training in White Collar, Cyber and now intelligence-based investigations and trains law enforcement across the country.”

Mr. Schiff: Pavelites says that thousands of complaints come into the IC3. A bit slower in the early days but much busier now…

Mr. Painter: “We started out, the IC3, the joint venture, receiving about 2,000 complaints a month. And today we receive about 20,000 to 22,000 complains per month.”

Mr. Schiff: The complaints roll in and are certainly prioritized and the list seems endless…

DAD Ward: “Our big list starts with Auction Fraud. Nigerian 419 Letters are always big. I don’t know how familiar people are with fraudulent checks. You do business with somebody, they send you a check, it’s for more than the amount, they ask you to deposit it and say, ‘sure keep your $5,000 and just send me $500 back because this is the only check I had.’ And of course the check bounces and you’re on the hook for all $5,500 but they’ve made $500 off of you. We get complaints of people who have what are called Key Loggers where they go to a bad web site or open the wrong e-mail, an attachment opens and a piece of malware, evil software as it were, attaches to their computer and records everything they do. So if you happen to bank online or use passwords of any sort for credit cards, it picks it all up and transmits it to the bad guy and they can access your accounts judging by what you typed into the computer.”

Mr. Schiff: Don’t be a victim. Be careful. Keep your virus scanners and spyware updated and be very sensitive when anyone or any web site asks you for money or personal information or both. Much more about the Internet Crime Complaint Center at Turning the page we want to let you know about someone who allegedly sexually assaults children. Edward Eugene Harper, the latest addition to the FBI’s Top Ten list. Ron Koziol is an FBI Special Agent and is the Assistant Chief of the Violent Crimes Section in the Criminal Investigative Division…

Mr. Koziol: “Harper’s wanted by the authorities in DeSoto County, Mississippi. Harper was 48-years-old at the time of the offense when he was charged with Sexual Battery of a three-year-old and an eight-year-old which has happened on several occasions.”

Mr. Schiff: Now Harper had been in custody; is that correct?

Mr. Koziol: “That’s correct by the State of Mississippi for these charges and fled the state and failed to appear in court.”

Mr. Schiff: Koziol says that Harper is a 62-year-old white male, 5’10”, about 160 to 180 pounds and may have gray hair now with hazel eyes …

Mr. Koziol: “Harper is a truck driver by trade; over-the-road driver. He has also worked as a mechanic, a fork lift operator and as a ranch hand. Also we suspect that he may be associated with the Domestic Terrorism group called The Freemen based in Montana.”

Mr. Schiff: The wanted flyer for FBI Top Ten fugitive Edward Eugene Harper is on the Internet at There’s a $100,000 reward posted for the arrest of Harper. That concludes our show. Thanks for listening. I’m Neal Schiff of the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs.

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