White collar crimes often tend to occupy a space in the social consciousness reserved for confusing financial schemes and high-level fraud. As technology continues to advance, however, the scope of these crimes seems to create its own overlap. The fusion of white collar crimes and cybercrimes, often simply referred to as White Collar Cybercrime, represents a growing worldwide trend.
White collar crimes are nonviolent offenses often driven by financial motivation. Investigators devote significant resources to developing a strong case with sturdy evidence. These crimes such as credit card fraud, Medicare fraud, embezzlement and securities fraud are prosecuted heavily and often carry severe criminal consequences. The advent of white collar cybercrime has expanded the scope and range of these investigations.
Common examples of white collar cybercrime
Cybersecurity and cybercrime seem to face a never-ending evolution as one side develops protection, and the other side seeks to circumvent the digital shielding. As this evolution continues, however, there will likely be more examples of this type of activity, but current common examples can include:
- Corporate espionage: Often, this translates to intellectual property (IP) or trade secret theft. In the past, a business hid its corporate secrets behind numerous layers of physical security from security personnel to a vault door. Now, however, organizations rely on cloud storage, computer passwords and firewalls to secure their data.
- Computer intrusion: What popular media simply calls “hacking,” computer intrusion often requires remote access to a computer network or single node. Through intrusion, an individual can copy data, corrupt files or perform other actions that would normally be prevented through cybersecurity.
- Social engineering: Whether through phishing attempts or other methods, individuals might seek to uncover passwords or security information to gain access to confidential or private data. People can use this information in white collar cybercrimes such as identity theft and other financial schemes.
In the last two decades, the separate concepts of white collar crime and cybercrime have merged and overlapped to the point of creating a new trend. While the use of mass spam email still exists as a method, this type of activity has grown in sophistication and scope. This fusion forces law enforcement and the legal process as a whole to struggle to stay on the technological cutting edge.