The Importance of Documentation

One of the most common problems I encounter investigating a cybercrime is that the victim fails to provide any records and/or documentation to support their claim that they have been victimized. This is often also true of others reporting the crime, either with the victim or on their behalf.

Lack of documentation is most prevalent in cases involving online fraud. Here are a few good steps to take every time your purchase or acceptance of a contract involves the internet:

• Print the webpage — a simple and quick method. Print the displayed offer, sale, or service you are interested in. At the bottom of the printout will usually be the URL (webpage address) and the date and time the printout was done. After purchasing, print out any on-screen confirmation
of sale, receipt of funds, delivery notices, etc.
• Bookmark the webpage(s). This is also a good way of record keeping and being able to return to that particular webpage.
• Print your email. Solicitations offering the sale of items and/or services and purchase confirmations and receipts, delivery notices, etc. received in your email should be printed out as good practice. In addition, all emails involving the transaction should NOT be deleted, but saved in a separate folder.
• Obtain bank or credit card statements reflecting transactions to further assist investigations.
Again, prevention is the key: “If it’s too good to be true…”

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