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Thursday, August 26, 2004
 Justice Dept. Launches Major Crackdown In Internet Crime
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Message Text: The U.S. Justice Department is scheduled to announce on Thursday a major crackdown on cyber-crime.

The crackdown include subpoenas, arrests and property seizures that stem from the criminal activity of alleged spammers and online scam artists, it was reported Wednesday. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft is scheduled to make the announcement at a news conference, the Washington Post said. The crackdown involves more than a 100 enforcement actions, with some of them continuing into Wednesday night.

More than half of the cases involve "phishing," and other online scams, the newspaper said. "Phishing" is when a scam artist sends an email made to look as if it came from a legitimate business, such as a financial institution. The message often asks recipients to go to a web site and update account information or provide credit card numbers.

The other cases involve the illegal distribution of spam, which clogs email boxes with pornography, get-rich-quick schemes and bogus drugs to enhance beauty and sexual performance. More than ever, however, spam is also being used to distribute viruses that can takeover a machine and use it to distribute more spam.

In the last year, phishing has cost banks and credit card companies about $1.2 billion, experts say. Spam, on the other hand, is costing businesses and consumers as much as $10 billion a year.

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