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Rise in cyber attacks prompts expanded federal investigations

Cyber attacks have drastically increased in the past four years. Identity theft and impersonation of government officials to obtain financial information are among the most common forms of Internet crimes, perpetrated using a variety of methods.

A specialist from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation specialists encouraged bank account holders to check their bank statements monthly to look for any signs of suspicious activity. People should also be weary of disclosing personal information such as social security numbers and bank account information in unsecured websites and online communications.

As cyber crime rates increase, the federal government is expected to crack down by launching a larger number of aggressive federal investigations. Because so many transactions and activities take place online, there is always a chance that federal government investigations will lead to the apprehension of innocent individuals. Investigators may misidentify a person, misinterpret online activity or make other critical mistakes during a federal investigation. Because the possibility of accidental or unfounded arrests is real, it is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty.

Federal investigations often involve multiple federal agencies. These investigations can be complex and confusing for those under the government's microscope. If you find yourself the object of a federal investigation, you have constitutional rights that are guaranteed to you. You do not have to wait until warrants or charges are issued to employ the services of an attorney. In fact, by consulting with a legal professional at the early stages of a federal investigation, you can best ensure that your rights are upheld at all stages of the case.

Source: Barron's, "Combating Cyber Stick-Ups," Jim McTague, May 12, 2012

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