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LN: Cyber crime soaring in Czech Republic

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Prague, May 10 (CTK) – Cyber crime rose almost four times in the Czech Republic in the past seven years, despite the falling overall crime rate, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Thursday.

In 2016, a special police unit was formed to deal with this type of crime.

In the first three months of this year alone, the investigators were checking 1,753 cases of cyber crime.

Last year, the police dealt with 5,329 cases of online crime.

Fraud is the most frequent criminal act online. Last year, the detectives investigated 2,416 cases of reported fraud.

In addition, the police were investigating 598 loan frauds and over 200 cases of unauthorised access to payment cards and bank accounts, LN writes, quoting the figures from the police statistics made available to it.

“The clear-up rate is on average 30-40 percent,” police spokeswoman Ivana Nguyenova is quoted as saying.

There is also a growing number of the cases that breach a victim’s privacy and personal life.

Last year, the police uncovered 91 cases of dangerous threats online, which carries up to three years in prison.

The detectives also checked 109 cases of blackmail, having cleared up almost one-half of them.

Discussions on social networks may also be “scenes of the crime,” as exemplified by racist comments.

“If the perpetrators [of hate conduct] were supported by online comments, this amounts to aiding and abetting,” judge Libor Vavra is quoted as saying.

“Cyber crime constitutes an ever increasing problem. The criminal activity causes harm to a large number of people and it is typical of a relatively anonymous character of its perpetrators,” Justice Ministry spokeswoman Lucie Machalkova said.

“Phishing” is one of the most widespread types of cyber crime. In it, the perpetrator gains the number of payment cards or passwords for online banking.

The fraud is conducted through the sending of e-mail messages asking the addressee to pass the personal data to a false webpage. The victim provides the relevant data, unwittingly giving them to the assailants who then steal money from the account in question.

The cyber blackmail is made by sending a virus that freezes the victim’s computer, while the criminal demands money for its reopening.

“We are registering a growth in frauds regarding the accounts of both individuals and companies through phishing attacks. The illegally gained money is often sent from a victim’s account to the account in a different country established by a strawman,” Machalkova said.

The movement from different, “street” crime to the Internet environment is another latest trend.

“Typically, this is the sale of narcotics and forgery. At present, one does not need to know any underworld persons that deal with this crime to gain access to various illegal goods,” Machalkova said.

Crime in the sexual sphere has also moved online.

“We are recording a growing number of sexual abuse of the underage by means of the Internet,” Machalkova said.

Last year, the detectives cleared up 21 cases of sexual coercion and even one rape online. Morality was threatened in 41 out of the 64 reported cases, LN writes.

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