Law enforcement has really embraced the popularity of social media. In fact, a quick search shows the Riverside and San Bernardino police departments even have Facebook pages with followers. For the departments, this provides a space for residents to voice concerns, to post upcoming events and to talk about the different initiatives going on.
However, as a recent case goes to show, Facebook can also be used as a tool by police.
Recently, a 25-year-old and 40-year-old were charged with crimes related to credit card fraud after police posted photos of the suspects on the department’s Facebook page. This led to a follower tipping off police regarding the suspects in the photos.
The two are accused of stealing credit cards out of an employee’s purse at a professional building. These two credit cards were then used at such stores as Target, Office Depot and Lowe’s. More than $3,000 was spent at the stores.
Many of the stores the two went into had surveillance videos. These videos were then used by police in order to grab still images of the two suspects and post them to Facebook where a tip led police to the suspects. The two were not arrested, but were rather charged by criminal summons.
The 25-year-old is facing eight counts of theft, one count of conspiracy to commit theft and six counts of credit card fraud. The 40-year-old is also facing eight counts of theft, one count of conspiracy to commit theft and four counts of credit card fraud.
In looking at these charges, while not violent accusations, being accused of credit card fraud still comes with some serious risks affecting personal and financial freedom. This is why it is important to talk with a criminal defense attorney as soon as charges are pressed.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Facebook tip leads to charges for fraud suspects,” March 28, 2013