We are now just a couple of weeks away from one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday. On Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, many retailers offer major online deals to encourage online shoppers to spend their holiday shopping dollars with them and many consumers are on the lookout online for big deals on presents for loved ones or personal purchases. A significant amount of spending occurs on Cyber Monday. Around $3 billion in total spending is expected to occur on Cyber Monday this year, according to National Retail Federation estimates.
For many, connecting to Wi-Fi is a part of everyday life. From their home, to their work, to cars, to coffee shops, to restaurants, to airports, the list of places individuals connect their computers, phones and devices to Wi-Fi is quite vast.
In today's digital environment full of clickable links and misleading headlines, it is easy to end up on a website full of illegal images. Links to underage pornography can even appear in an otherwise authoritative-looking email, just waiting to ensnare curious Wisconsin residents. Unfortunately, possessing and distributing pornographic images of children is always a crime, even when it happened accidentally or unknowingly.
Most people use computers or other devices to access the Internet on a daily basis. While most of the activities of the average person are usually legal, there are some activities that might actually be illegal but don't seem that way. We know that facing Internet crime charges can be frightening, especially when terms like cyberterrorism are being thrown around.
Milwaukee companies often do business on a global scale, something that was a fairly complex undertaking until the Internet opened up instant, worldwide communication. The benefit of facilitated international trade also has come with substantial economic risks. The movement of money between countries can make businesses and their employees vulnerable to criminal charges.
Knowingly using deception for personal gain is the basis for many different crimes. Phishing is a form of fraud using email. As the name implies, the emails are employed as bait to get someone to give up confidential information like a Social Security number.
Charges against a defendant can grow complicated when an alleged crime involves the Internet. For instance, the Wisconsin law against stalking mainly includes physical intrusions into another person's life for the purpose of harassing him or her. The law also prohibits using a phone, recording equipment, the mail or some other delivery system to abuse a victim.
The crime's gentle cousin is associated with a quiet stream-side hobby but there are similarities. In both instances, bait is used to fool a target into giving up something of value. A fish snaps at a worm and loses a life just as email recipients are lured into opening messages that can cause serious financial damage.
Extortion is not a new crime but Internet technology has made it possible to threaten Wisconsin residents in a new way. So-called sextortion involves using secretly recorded or voluntarily shared sexually explicit images or videos obtained online to blackmail someone. "Sextortionists" claim the sexual content will be revealed unless the victim meets certain demands.
More than a dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies investigated alleged online sexual predators and took 17 people into custody in Wisconsin between March 12 and 14 for allegedly committing crimes against children. The Department of Justice dubbed the effort to locate persons involved in sex crimes "Operation Black Veil." While 16 individuals were from Wisconsin, one man reportedly drove to the state from Illinois to pursue a girl he believed was 15. The men ranged in age from to 19 to 66, and they were arrested for a variety of charges, including trafficking of a child, child enticement, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, exposing a child to harmful materials and solicitation of a prostitute. Some were also arrested for drug crimes and other non-sexual offenses. The police continue to investigate other individuals who may be involved and warned predators that they could also be arrested.