The Walton County Sheriff’s Office has two investigators who are committed to helping victims of cybercrimes. Matt Williams and Ben Dowdy investigate child exploitation cases, specifically cases relating to the download, distribution and possession of online child porn. They also investigate online sex crimes, different types of online fraud and assist law enforcement officers on various types of computer related cases. Both investigators were successful in the planning and execution of Operation Turkey Hunt where ten individuals were arrested last month for traveling from multiple locations to Walton County with the intent to have sexual relations with a minor.
More than one million people fall victim to cybercrimes every day and there are resources online that can help those who have become a victim. Victims of Internet Crimes Empowered (VOICE) allows individuals to file a complaint about an online crime directly with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Prevention tips, resources related to cybercrimes and steps to take if victimized are available. “Citizens need to be aware of the different types of crime that takes place online and it starts by education and prevention,” stated Investigator Ben Dowdy.
For those who have been a victim of an online crime or who simply want to prevent valuable information from being compromised can visit www.VictimVoice.org.
Online Safety Tips:
* Research companies before doing business
*Use your credit card on secure sites
*Be aware of prevalent scams
*Never purchase anything advertised through unsolicited email
* The Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) is a great resource that has information and ratings on businesses.
*Update malware protection on personal computers
*Change passwords periodically and do not use your social security number as a PIN
*Run scans to eradicate viruses and keep up with software updates
* Educate children on the potential risks of using the internet