Criminals choose victims for a variety of reasons, but there are some patterns you can identify. Finding a victim to target for an online-initiated crime has three basic steps:
target, whether that target is property or a person.
If the target is a physical object (a car or house), the
needs some way to locate the object. Opportunity for access is keythe ability to gain online access to children, young people, or adults as well as any content that helps identify a location for potential offline access is the first goal.
Think About It
Many child sexual predators already knew their victims and used the Internet as a means of facilitating crimes; 50 percent of victims live within a 50-mile radius of their predators (Wolak et al., 2004).
If the target is a personchild or adultwith whom the predator wants to make physical contact (not just steal their identity), the goal is most often to build a relationship with the victim. The predator starts to collect information that will build an outline of the target and begin to identify themwhere they live, what they look like, their
and age, and, to help them make a personal connection, their
Matching the target with what the predator wants.
If the goal is to get money or
goods, such as IDs,
, or other possessions, the predator sifts through the target's information to find relevant secondary informationphotos of a new boat or car, postings where the victim brags about an Xbox or flat-screen TV, references to expensive artwork or
, and so on.
If physical harm is the predator's objective, then gaining the target's confidence becomes important. The predator wants any information that can help him or her to learn a victim's habits, likes and dislikes, location, and so on.
Planning the best time to "strike" and the best method to
For a burglar this might mean waiting until the target is on vacation. Did you leave a notice on your e-mail to tell people you will be away and will respond
week when you're back, or talk about your upcoming trip on your blog? All of these pieces of information
something about you, and often something about your possessions.