Senator Eklund: Taking On Cyber Fraud
By State Senator John Eklund
December 15, 2011
Just as life in the 21st century has grown more complex and sophisticated, so has the threat of criminal activity. It seems as though every year brings about a new wave of suspicious behavior that poses a serious problem for our nation's citizens. The Ohio Senate recently took action on one such threat facing Ohio residents.
In December, our chamber offered unanimous approval to Senate Bill 223. The legislation is an innovative and serious attempt at stymieing predators that prey on average citizens by way of online and telecommunication avenues. Thus far, millions of US consumers have fallen victim to various thefts and scams perpetrated through E-commerce sites such as eBay and CraigsList. If enacted, I am confident that this measure will aid in curbing Ohio's susceptibility to this sort of criminal activity.
Considering the ever-growing popularity of the aforementioned websites and others like them, Senate Bill 223 offers law enforcement the proper means to protect consumers so that they can safely continue to utilize the benefits offered by shopping and conducting business online.
Under the plan, the Ohio Attorney General's Office will be able to exercise subpoena power over phone records, payment information, and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Seeing that it is always important to protect the most vulnerable citizens in our communities, additional criminal penalties will be created for use against those offenders who knowingly target elderly or disabled residents of Ohio. The Attorney General will also be permitted to draw on resources from the Telemarketing Fraud Enforcement Fund for expenses incurred while investigating and prosecuting suspected cases of cyber fraud.
Prior to its passage in the Senate, the bill received the full support of Attorney General Mike DeWine and companion legislation has already been introduced in the Ohio House.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am pleased to see sound measures like this come before our panel. The duties of the General Assembly are vast and varied, but keeping Ohioans safe from threats of all kind, remains of the utmost importance. As we prepare to enter 2012, I look forward to continuing to serve the vital interests of those who live in our region, and remain eager to join my colleagues throughout Ohio in crafting common sense answers to the many challenges facing our state.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the issues that are most important. Please do not hesitate to contact my office to share your insight and ideas in the coming months. I can be reach by phone at (614) 644-7718, through email at SD18@senate.state.oh.us, or by writing State Senator John Eklund, One Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215.