Police: Beware of financial crimes during holidays

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Because the number of financial crimes spike during the holiday season, Gwinnett Police want to remind people how to protect themselves if they are victimized.

Gwinnett Police Cpl. Jake Smith said that during the holiday season the Electronic and Financial Crimes Unit sees a "large increase" in the number of victims reporting credit card fraud.

"More and more often, a local victim's credit card information is used across the country, and even in foreign countries," Smith said. "The opposite is also true: victims living outside of Gwinnett County sometimes have their credit card information used by local criminals."

Investigations of these types of crimes, and fraudulent purchases over the Internet, which are "particularly problematic," are difficult because they involve various jurisdictions and long distances between them.

If someone is a victim of financial crime, Gwinnett Police recommend the victim complete a Gwinnett County incident report, and file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.

Smith said IC3 is a collaboration between the FBI, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National White Collar Crime Center. The Gwinnett County Police Department is a member of the National White Collar Crime Center and receives complaint referrals submitted through IC3.

When a victim files a complaint with IC3, the complaint is reviewed and forwarded to appropriate jurisdictions for investigation, Smith said. By completing a complaint through IC3, victims maximize the chance that their case will have a successful resolution.