July 22, 2008

Kentucky’s Attorney General Toughens Up On Internet Crimes

By Vanessa Overholser

Kentucky's Attorney General Jack Conley has created several new units since he took office, cracking down on cyber crime and prescription drug abuse.

He spoke last week to Governor's Scholars at Morehead State's Button Auditorium.

Kentucky has a unique number of crimes involving prescription drugs, Conway said. To crack down on those individuals, Conway created a drug investigation unit within his office.

"We have tough laws on Internet drug pharmacy," Conway said. "Now we have more people using prescription drugs such as Loratab and Hydrocodone and using them for other means."

The attorney general reminded the future college students that this generation of young people is going to parties and finding a bowl of pills out for everyone to consume. He stressed the dangerousness of this activity and said his investigative unit is working to bring down the online pharmacies that are giving out those drugs illegally.

"Another change I made since I became Attorney General is I created a cyber crimes unit," he said.

Many people in law enforcement are not trained to investigate these crimes. They say that when they process evidence, they have to send it to Louisville and it takes them 12 months to get the results back.

"Eighty percent of crimes involve computer and digital forensics," he said.

He told the audience he thought that statistic was low because many cases go unreported when kids are afraid to tell someone about it. Only 25 percent of solicitations are reported, Conway said. Three percent of those solicitations involve attempts to make contact offline, he said.

"One in seven youths ages 10 to 17 report receiving unwanted sexual solicitations online. It's a huge challenge not only for parents but for youth and law enforcement," he said. "I have joined with 49 other attorney generals to make a contract with MySpace. Fifty thousand sex offenders were caught and swept off MySpace."

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes, Conway said. More than 8 million people have been affected. When an identity theft criminal personally attacked Conway, he became even more aggressive against the problem.

"It can happen to anybody," he said. "It's scary, folks. We think that what happened was, I made a transaction at a restaurant with a credit card and the business was not secure."

Someone charged thousands of dollars of computer equipment on his credit card, and changed his mailing address, which is a federal offense. Then he even had it forwarded to a location in the northeast.

"The guy bought my personal information. We know what the guy's name is, his address and as we speak we have postal officials and secret agents outside his door watching him," Conway said.

According to Conway's statistics, an average loss due to identity theft is $3,200. As a whole, $45 billion was lost last year due to identity theft. There are several tips to keep safe from cyber crimes and identity theft. He recommends citizens to do the following:

  • Think before you post anything on the Internet.
  • Know who you are chatting with online. If you don't know them personally, do not chat with them.
  • Never give out personal information such as your social security number, birth date or mother's maiden name to a person you do not know.
  • Only give personal information over the phone if you initiate the call.
  • Do not mail personal bills in your mailbox. The red flag up on your mailbox is a welcome sign for identity thieves.
  • Everyone should have a personal shredder.
  • Report the crime immediately and place a fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit reports and carefully review them.
  • Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
  • File a report with local law enforcement.
  • Keep a log of persons with whom you speak with and when. Keep copies of all letters and documents.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT or online at