State's new eCrime Unit to target cybercrime

SAN JOSE, Calif.

California has more identity theft complaints than any other state, more than one million each year.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris was in San Jose Tuesday to launch a counter attack.

"We take those crimes seriously and we're here to say to anybody who thinks they're smarter than us in terms of how they use that technology, times are changing," Harris said.

Harris announced the creation of the state's eCrime Unit. The idea is to use technology more effectively to attack technology related crimes.

A leading expert in Internet security says the unit's mission of evidence gathering and prosecution has been a weak link the crime-rich landscape.

"Unfortunately the big challenge we have had in this industry has been, not so much in tracking the bad guys, tracking them is actually kind of easy, it's bringing them to justice," McAfee Chief Technology Officer Stuart McClure said.

The eCrime Unit will focus on going after criminals involved in identify theft, Internet fraud, computer and electronic theft, intellectual property crimes, such as counterfeiting and piracy, and child exploitation.

A team of 20 attorneys and investigators at the state level will help local agencies with high-tech evidence gathering and also take on the cases that involve big money or lots of victims.

Counterfeit jewelry is one example. Last month, agents seized $1.5 million of illegal merchandise being sold on eBay. A Tracy woman now faces five felony charges. Santa Clara County also got help in a massive bust of computer chips and intellectual property.

"It's a big problem, a big concern and the only way to deal with it is on a multi-jurisdictional way," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said.

With no shortage of cases to work on, Harris confirmed one of them is the credit card skimming at Bay Area Lucky stores.

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