Cyber crimes are criminal offenses committed via the Internet or otherwise aided by various forms of computer technology, such as the use of online social networks to bully others or sending sexually explicit digital photos with a smart phone. But while cyber crime is a relatively new phenomenon, many of the same offenses that can be committed with a computer or smart phone, including theft or child pornography, were committed in person prior to the computer age. This sub-section includes articles on cyber bullying, sexting, and a whole host of other crimes commonly committed online or with the help of computer networking technology.
The Internet offers a global marketplace for consumers and businesses. But thieves also recognize the potentials of cyberspace. The same scams that have been conducted by mail and phone can now be found on the World Wide Web and in email, and new cyberscams are emerging. Types of internet fraud include internet auction fraud, credit card fraud, investment fraud, and even what is know as "Nigerian letter or "419" fraud." Named for the violation of Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, it combines the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter, e-mail, or fax is received by the victim.
What is a Phishing Scam?
Phishing is an email fraud method in which the fraudster sends out a legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients. Typically, the messages appear to come from well known and trustworthy websites including PayPal, eBay, MSN, or Google. A phishing scam, like the fishing expedition it's named for, is a speculative venture: the phisher puts the lure hoping to fool at least a few of the prey that encounter the bait.
Selling Fake Pharmaceuticals
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that all the food, beverages, and drugs on the marketplace are safe and, in the case of drugs, effective treatments. Counterfeit medicine is fake medicine. It may be contaminated or contain the wrong or no active ingredient. They could have the right active ingredient but at the wrong dose. Drug counterfeiting occurs less frequently in the U.S. than in other countries due to the strict regulatory framework that governs the production of drug products and the distribution chain, and enforcement against violators. However, counterfeit drugs are illegal and may be harmful to your health.
Is Cyberbullying a Crime?
Absolutely. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Report cyberbullying to law enforcement when it involves threats of violence, child pornography or sending sexually explicit messages or photos, taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy, stalking and hate crimes. Some states consider other forms of cyberbullying criminal. Consult your state’s laws and law enforcement for additional guidance.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know is being investigated for, or has been charged with committing a cyber crime, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. In most states, computer or Internet crimes are prosecuted as felonies and come with substantial jail or state prison sentences. You will want an experienced and knowledgeable computer crimes attorney who can provide you with the aggressive representation needed for these types of crimes.