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Internet crime results in consumers' information accessed

Consumers across American were warned earlier this month to be on the lookout for phishing emails after an instance of an internet crime. According to the news article, a marketing company that handles emails for retail stores such as Best Buy and Walgreens was hacked into by unknown parties.

Though financial information remained secure, the hackers got access to the email lists and will likely use that information to try to get more data from the individuals on the email lists. The marketing company typically sends more than 40 million emails out each year.

Included on the list of companies that use this email service are several banks who have already begun warning its customers to watch for spam-like emails that may ask for more personal information. The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau notes that there has been an increase in data theft due to the amount of information that circulates on the Internet.

This particular incident has been referred to as the "largest data breach in U.S. history" and affects a large number of consumers.

Though the article does not mention an investigation, it is highly likely that law enforcement is working to determine the cause of the breach. If the individuals responsible for the breach are found, they could be facing severe penalties. Internet crimes such as these are considered white collar crimes.

Typically, criminal investigations into white collar crimes can be lengthy and complex. There can be a lot of things at stake for an individual who is even accused of a crime. Even if not convicted of the crime, these types of accusations can permanently affect one's personal and professional reputation.

Source: Gazette Xtra online, "Emails, names hacked in 'largest breach ever'," Kevin Hoffman, 06 April 2011

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