How to Legally Pursue Cyber Crime

Cybercrime is a general term that refers to any offense that may involve internet devices. If you have been a victim, the law has provisions that may protect you. Common forms of cybercrime include; identity theft, spreading hate, hacking, and phishing. Even though it is important to protect yourself from cybercrime, it isn’t always possible. Take the following steps if you have been a victim of cybercrime.

1. Detach And Disconnect

If there is an ongoing attack on your infrastructure or computer, the first thing to do is disconnect it from the internet. It will ensure that you do not lose any more data. If you are a victim of cyberstalking or cyber bullying, do not attempt to seek legal help while connected to the internet. In case of successful phishing attacks where you have revealed confidential information or bank details, change your passwords and freeze your credit cards and bank accounts.

2. Seek Legal Help

Contact your lawyer as soon as possible. Take legal action while you try to minimize the negative effects of the crime. According to the professionals at, you must include all the relevant information including the nature of the cybercrime, the severity of the damage, and the date of the attack. Provide data and documents that may be relevant to your case. Even though cybercrime cases can be complicated, do not assume that the criminals cannot be caught.

Who Should You Contact?

  • Local Law Enforcement

Your local law enforcement is obligated to help you with cybercrime cases even when you have been a victim of multijurisdictional attacks. They will get a formal report and help you contact other agencies.

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Even though the FTC may not resolve your individual complaint, it operates the Consumer Sentinel. Criminal and civil law enforcement authorities all around the world use the database.

  • IC3

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You can file your complaint online. Once you do, you will find instructions on what to do when it comes to your specific complaint.

  • A Local Victim Service Provider

There are victim advocates in most communities and they can help with your cybercrime case. Find a victim’s service provider in your area and ask for help.  

Other resources where you may file your complaint include; The United States Department of Justice, Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Working Groups, Your State Attorney General, and CyberTipline.

Collect as much evidence as you can to support your case. Evidence may include:

  • Facsimiles
  • Money order receipts
  • Canceled checks
  • Messages from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter
  • Credit card receipts
  • Phone bills
  • Log files where possible
  • Web page copies
  • Chat Room text

3. Address the Specific Cyber Crime

The actions you take may vary depending on the nature of your attack. In case of identity theft, change your passwords as soon as possible. Use a strong password with numbers, symbols, uppercase letters, and lowercase letters. If you have any compromised or unauthorized charge or credit accounts, close them as soon as possible. Let the company know that someone may be trying to use your identity to complete unauthorized transactions. Depending on the type of theft that has happened, you may need to contact a law enforcement agency. They will give you a report to submit to your creditors, credit bureaus, or bank.

If cybercriminals have stolen your personal information following a corporate data breach, the agency or business will contact you with instructions on what to do.

On the other hand, if you believe that someone may be using your social security number to access your benefits or seek employment, contact the Social Security administration through their fraud hotline.

If you are a victim of online stalking, your actions depend on whether you know the offender. If you do, send them a clear warning letter. Let them know that their contact is unwanted. Save copies of your interaction with them to support your case. File your complaint with their Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most of them have tools that may block or filter messages from specific people. Set privacy and security settings on your social networks and change your email address

4. Inform Your Contacts

Let your contacts know that you have been a victim of cyberattacks. The attackers can steal your data and try to contact your online attacks. Social media is the most effective tool for spreading the word about it.

If you suspect that you may have been a victim of cybercrime, consider seeking legal help as soon as possible. There are provisions in the law that protect you from all sorts of cyberattacks.

How to Legally Pursue Cyber Crime was last updated November 11th, 2020 by Charlene Brown