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About the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Forces

The role of the U.S. Secret Service has gradually evolved since the agency's 1865 inception, from its initial mandate — suppressing the counterfeiting of U.S. currency — to protecting the integrity of the nation's financial payment systems. During this time, as methods of payment have evolved, so has the scope of the Secret Service's mission. Computers and other chip devices are now the facilitators of criminal activity or the target of such, compelling the involvement of the Secret Service in combating cyber crime. The perpetrators involved in the exploitation of such technology range from traditional fraud artists to violent criminals - all of whom recognize new opportunities to expand and diversify their criminal portfolio.

The concept of task forces has been around for many years and has proven successful. However, traditional task forces have consisted primarily of law enforcement personnel. The Secret Service developed a new approach to increase the resources, skills and vision by which local, state and federal law enforcement team with prosecutors, private industry and academia to fully maximize what each has to offer in an effort to combat criminal activity. By forging new relationships with private sector entities and scholars the task force opens itself up to a wealth of resources and communication. The agency's first Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF), the New York Electronic Crimes Task Force, was formed based on this concept and has been highly successful since its inception in 1995.

While the Secret Service leads this innovative effort, the agency believes in partnerships with strong emphasis on prevention and education, in addition to traditional law enforcement measures. The task forces provide a productive framework and collaborative crime-fighting environment in which the resources of its participants can be combined to effectively and efficiently make a significant impact on electronic crimes. Other law enforcement agencies bring additional criminal enforcement jurisdiction and resources to the task forces, while representatives from private industry and academia bring a wealth of technical expertise and research capabilities.

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