The internet is an amazing tool. However, it can also be a dangerous tool. Internet fraud can occur. When it does, the victims sometimes press charges against the perpetrator. This can result in criminal charges. Depending on the crime, internet fraud charges can have severe penalties. Find out everything that you should know about facing charges of internet fraud.
What is Internet Fraud?
Internet fraud occurs when an individual uses the internet or software with internet access to defraud someone or take advantage of them. In the US and across the globe, internet fraud is a major problem. With internet crime schemes, criminals steal millions of dollars from innocent victims. Although some of these criminals get away with their crimes, others face criminal charges. If you find yourself facing internet fraud charges, then your future is uncertain.
Internet fraud can be a federal or a state crime. However, because the crime usually involves federally-issued information, it is often a federal crime. Wherever you live, the federal laws regarding internet fraud are the same. But state laws vary depending on your state. If you’re facing state fraud charges, then you should look into your local laws regarding fraud.
Types of Internet Fraud Charges
There are several different types of internet fraud. The penalty for your crime could vary depending on the type of fraud you committed. For example, these are some common types of internet fraud:
1. Data Breach
This type of fraud occurs when someone spills data from a secure place to a place that is not trustworthy. Often, this occurs in corporate environments. However, it can also occur on a personal level.
Usually, data from a breach involves sensitive or confidential information. The criminals might take the data and use it, view it, or send it somewhere. In any case, the accused does not have the authority to use, view, or send the data.
2. Business E-Mail Compromise
During this type of internet fraud, someone targets businesses who work with suppliers in other countries. If the business uses wire transfers to pay those suppliers, then an individual could divert those transfers. Instead of a transfer to the supplier, the business owner could unknowingly send the money to the criminal. To do so, the criminal needs to compromise a genuine business e-mail account. This can be done by hacking or any computer intrusion technique.
3. Denial of Service
When this type of fraud occurs, an individual interrupts someone’s access to a system or network. It’s a simple crime but can have a devastating impact. If you commit this crime, then you are guilty of internet fraud.
4. Phishing and Spoofing
This type of crime involves forging or faking electronic documents. When spoofing occurs, an individual sends an email that looks as if it was from another sender. Phishing is slightly different. If someone faces charges for phishing, then they sent out an e-mail claiming to be a legitimate business. The criminal attempted to gain personal information from you by sending you to a fake website.
Some software can do serious damage to your computer or computer system. Known as malware, the software can disable your computers for a significant amount of time.
There are many other types of internet fraud charges. As technology advances, there become more types of fraud. It’s important to be aware that any type of online scam could result in criminal charges.
Fighting Internet Fraud Charges
The penalty for internet fraud on a federal or state level is quite serious. For a federal charge, you could face up to five years in prison. However, a second online fraud conviction has an even harsher penalty. Second-time offenders could get a sentence of as many as 20 years in prison. When the internet fraud occurs in conjunction with drug trafficking or a crime of violence, the consequences are much greater.
Another consequence is the criminal conviction. When you have a conviction on your record, it becomes public knowledge. You could find it difficult to get work or to find housing.
Defenses for Fraud Charges
There are several ways to defend against charges of internet fraud. However, all of those defenses require the expertise of a lawyer. With a lawyer’s help, you might be able to avoid facing a serious penalty for your crime. In fact, your lawyer might even be able to convince the judge to dismiss your case.
Whether you face federal or state charges, you need a lawyer who can come up with a strong defense. Your lawyer might be able to prove your innocence. If this is the case, then you don’t have to worry about a conviction on your record. In other situations, your lawyer might be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. Instead of serving a full sentence for your crime, you might only have some minor consequences. Your lawyer can be the difference between spending years in jail or having a bright future.