Spams and Scams, the 'White Noise of Cysberspace': The Problem of Small Impact Multiple Victimisation Deceptions on the Internet

David S. Wall, University of Leeds

There is a common agreement that cybercrimes exist, but little overall agreement as to what they are other than they involve the use of the internet in some way. The term is most frequently used to describe either traditional or familiar forms of offending which utilise the Internet, else to illustrate the more dramaticx forms of offending via technological derring-do

It will be argued in this paper that there currently exist large knowledge gaps in our general understanding of crime and the Internet. In order to fill those knowledge gaps we should be exploring the various transformative impacts of the Internet upon criminalised behaviour. One of these transformative impacts is the growth in small impact multiple victimisation deceptions. Drawing upon research into minor impact economic deceptions, this paper will explore spams and scams. Frequently dismissed a the 'white noise' of the Internet, these deceptions constitute interesting and quite new forms of offending behaviour in terms of the industries which support them and also their engagement with the victims. Furthermore, they pose particularly difficult problems for criminal justice agencies because of their relatively minor impact upon individual victioms and thei trans-jurisdictionality.

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Updated 05/20/2006