Have you ever wondered how police in real life trace emails and locate and identify cyber stalkers? Is it really like they show on those TV CSI cop shows? Unfortunately no, in real life there are many limitations on local police when it comes to locating and identifying cyber stalkers. On tv you'll see a high tech computer crimes lab full of expensive equipment and manned with dozens of officers. In reality a local police dept computer crimes unit may be as small as one officer and one computer.
Wen a victim of a cyber bully becomes concerned about their safety and well being they will usually turn to the local police dept. Once the local police take that compliant several things may happen. hey may choose not to investigate further thinking that it is not a serious enough threat to devote manpower and recourses to investigate further.
If they do deem it a serious threat they may assign your case to an investigator, perhaps in their computer crimes unit or maybe just an investigator that normally investigates harassment and stalking cases.If the crime crosses over state lines they may refer your case to a federal agency such as the FBI to investigate. depending on the nature of the threat and other factors.
But the typical response by any law enforcement is usually the same. They will investigate the incoming email threat by opening up the headers and obtaining the IP address from within the header. Then they will take that information and use a common tool like samspade.org or dnsstuff.com to run the IP address through a"whois" feature and discover what Internet Service Provider (ISP) is associated with IP Address or Internet Protocol Address.
At this stage of the investigation law enforcement has a huge advantage because they can take the documented threat or harassment in the form of an email and present it to a judge as probable cause to issue a search warrant. That warrant will be served upon the Custodian of Records of the ISP, They will be compelled to turn over detailed information about the billing, location and activity of that person or people associated with at IP Address.
The problem for law enforcement at this stage is proving who that actual person was physically at the keyboard at the time the alleged crime took place. The suspect can claim he was not there that day, that many people borrow the computer or that several people live at the address and they call share the computer. This is why it's so difficult for law enforcement to make arrests and prosecute these kids of cases without getting a confession from the suspect. Unfortunately it's not as high tech and quick as you see on TV crime shows where to police are able to use some type of computer program to instantly identify a person from an email or IP address.
Copyright (c) 2011 Opperman Investigations Inc