(Abstracts from the press release)
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the creation of the eCrime Unit which will be staffed with Department of Justice attorneys and investigators. Their mission is to identify and prosecute identity theft crimes, cyber crimes and other crimes involving the use of technology. “Today’s criminals increasingly use the Internet, smartphones, and other digital devices to victimize people online and offline,” said Attorney General Harris. I am creating the eCrime Unit so that California can be a leader in using innovative law enforcement techniques to target these criminals. The eCrime Unit will be comprised of investigators and prosecutors charged with working across jurisdictions and leading task forces to protect California consumers and businesses.”
The eCrime Unit investigates and prosecutes crimes that include a substantial technology component. Examples and descriptions of the kinds of crimes that the unit will prosecute are: Identity theft ,Theft of computer components or services , Intellectual property crimes, Child exploitation.
Many of these crimes are multi-jurisdictional and are better suited for prosecution on a statewide level. The eCrime Unit, which began operations in August, consists of 20 attorneys and investigators, many of whom have spent years working on complex technology crimes. Technology crimes affect consumers, businesses and the state government’s operations. California had 10 of the top 25 metropolitan areas for identity-theft related consumer complaints in 2010. According to the Federal Trade Commission, California has the most identity theft complaints of any state and third highest per capita. In fact, every year, more than 1 million Californians are victims of identity theft. Total losses throughout the state exceeded $46 million last year.