Attorney General Tim Fox announced during a Monday press conference that a new cybercrime agent has been hired to work with an FBI program called Operation Wellspring.

“Crime that’s conducted over the internet is on the rise, and the internet is such a great tool, but criminals are using it as well,” said Fox. “We’re not immune to that here in Montana. In  fact, we had about 1,500 internet fraud complaints in 2013, and that rose to 3,500 last year that our Office of Consumer Protection received.”

Fox said the FBI has reported over 350,000 internet fraud complaints last year.

“They were comprised of anything from non-payment to non-delivery scams, extortion, personal data breach and other crimes,” he said. “Our office has been trying to form a new cyber security and cyber crime unit in our Division of Criminal Investigation. The legislature funded this position in the last session. Today, we were happy to announce that Katie Stewart, a very seasoned and experienced law enforcement officer has joined the DOJ’s Office of Criminal Investigation as our very first Cybercrime agent.”

Fox also announced a new effort in conjunction with the FBI.

“I’m happy to announce today that with the help of Supervisory Special Agent from the FBI’s Salt Lake City office who was here today for our press conference that we will form a partnership between the DCI and our cybercrime agent and the FBI to better pursue criminals who use the internet for crime beyond Montana’s borders and in fact beyond the borders of the U.S.  The FBI is the preeminent cybercrime fighting agency in the world and they are going to provide training to our agent Katie Stewart so that she will be very well equipped to fight cybercrime here in Montana.”

According to the FBI, Montana ranked 41st for total losses by victim per state, with over $6.6 million reported.

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