While many people who are involved in felony level cybercrimes have a clear knowledge about the behavior involved in these violations of the law, many people don’t have the proper understanding of the broad range of online crimes that could lead to criminal charges whether at the misdemeanor or the felony level. Knowing about these crimes can help you avoid an unfortunate situation when you are called into the police or accused of violating a crime. There is a broad range of types of computer crimes that can be alleged against an individual and the complexity of this area of the law is increasing in recent years as technology improves.
Online crimes are more prevalent than ever, including the number of victims coming forward with concerns about privacy and the use of online avenues to carry out illegal activity.
The government is now working harder than ever to try to stop these crimes before they start and also making an example out of anyone who is convicted of such a crime.
Since the technology and the laws surrounding it are changing so quickly, it makes it a better chance than ever that you could be accused of committing a crime online. Users of any and all technology have to educate themselves about this complex area of the law and stay mindful of any updates that make it easier for government authorities to track what you’re doing or to investigate you if you’re suspected of committing a crime.
The evidence collected may include mistakes that tie you to a crime you never committed. In any of these situations, lack of knowledge about the law is not a good defense. This could help the prosecution land a conviction.
Federal Computer Crimes
Many traditional crimes can be carried out with the help of a computer. Other crimes, however, exist only on the internet. Some of the most commonly prosecuted cybercrimes that are categorized at the federal level include:
- Identify theft: such as taking someone’s identifying information for personal use or for sale. This can include, phishing or hacking.
- Fraud: Any type of fraudulent scam or scheme that is carried out over the internet can be pursued as a federal cyber-crime.
- Hacking: Accessing a network or computer without permission is categorized as criminal hacking. Related crimes include destroying data, using a virus to attack a system or stealing data.
- Blackmail: Blackmail schemes may use illegally obtained data or illicit materials.
No matter, how the alleged crime is identified, a person who is accused of such a crime needs to be familiar with their rights and responsibilities. Criminal laws in New Jersey, for example, do not distinguish between misdemeanors and felonies. Rather they classify crimes by degrees and there are a number of different types of criminal allegations that fall under this category. Whether or not someone is being accused under federal or state violations, a computer crime is a serious matter.
What You Need to Know About Investigations of Internet Crimes
The authorities accusing someone of an internet crime will often only do so after they have gathered evidence that seems to indicate that a person was carrying out some type of crime using the internet. This does not necessarily mean that the entirety of the crime was committed online.
Rather it may also include allegations of other crimes, in addition to the commission of a cybercrime because the internet was in some way used to carry out misdemeanor or felony behavior. Knowing the accusations levied against you can help you to figure out the type of crime being alleged and the type of defenses that may be available. It is also important for someone to know that the law enforcement cannot suggest that you commit a crime that you otherwise had no intention of committing.
This could constitute entrapment. All of these details should be recorded in a written fashion in the event that you may be accused of a crime in the future. Sometimes people do not even realize that a behavior or action that they are carrying out online is actually against the law. One such example is spoofing or phishing. This refers to unlawful accessing a computer without authorization and sending emails, falsifying header information in numerous email messages or resending numerous commercial email messages with the purpose of deceiving a recipient. This element of deceit can be difficult for the prosecution to prove but it can also be hard for a defendant to fight back if they are not familiar with their rights.
Accessing stored communication is another common internet crime that many people may not realize they have committed. This crime requires intentionally accessing a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided, without authorization. Again, the prosecution will bear the burden of proof for showing that this person intentionally accessed this material. A first-time offender could be facing serious consequences, however.
Although gambling inside a casino is legal, engaging in the business of betting on a sporting event over the internet is illegal. Using the internet to bet on sports is a federal crime that can be punished as long as two years in prison. Cybercrimes can also carry over into personal relationships. One such example is stalking or electronic harassment. Anyone who uses the internet to abuse, annoy, threaten, or harass a person who receives a communication could lead to criminal consequences upon conviction.
You might not even realize until there’s a police officer at your door or until you’ve been asked to come in and help with an investigation that there are possible charges against you. In these cases, it’s easier for authorities to develop all the information they need without you even realizing what’s happening until you’re charged with an online crime.
As most people know, crimes can be committed in person, online, or even over a mobile device. As more people are using technology to carry out crimes, the government is using all the tools within their power to ferret out these situations. This means that you could end up facing criminal charges even if you believe you didn’t do anything wrong.