Computers and other internet-connected devices have become a staple in the lives of many people. When people think of internet crimes, however, they fail to consider the many offenses included in this category. People also fail to understand that a large number of people in the United States each year are charged with internet crimes without having done anything wrong. Due to the increased number of people online, law enforcement has grown more aggressive in how it prosecutes internet crimes.
Types of Internet Crimes
Internet crime involves unauthorized access to private information that a person stores on a computer, on an internet database, or online. Some examples of this private information include name and contact information, date of birth, social security numbers, bank account information, credit card information, trade secrets, and trademark or copyright details. Cybercrime has a tendency to occur whenever the return on investment is high and the associated risk is low. As a result, if a hacker feels that information can be accessed without much risk, then he or she is likely to steal information.
Many people do not expect that they will face internet crime-related charges. There are various internet (or “cyber”) crimes, however, with which a person can be charged, including the following:
- International crime involves people who live in a different country than the computer user.
- Internet fraud can occur when a person clicks on a seemingly harmless email that contains a virus. These viruses can then launch internet-based software that is able to gain access to the user’s computer to steal sensitive data.
- Identity theft can occur when a person provides personal information and someone else steals his or her identity. There are people whose identities who have been stolen and then end up accused of internet crimes. This type of offense is most common among people who use the internet for banking transactions or shopping.
- A common type of cybercrime involves chat rooms that exist with the intention to produce child pornography. These crimes often result in substantial prison terms. There is still a risk, however, that an innocent computer user could get charged with someone else’s offensive activity.
Potential Defenses to Cybercrime Charges
There are some potentially strong defenses that a person can raise in response to a cybercrime charge, which include the following:
- The person who is charged with committing the crime was authorized to access the confidential information.
- The person who is being charged with the offense was not aware that a certain form was fake or otherwise was not aware that he or she was committing an unlawful act.
- A person was forced to commit cybercrime because he or she was under threat of harm or punishment if he or she did not perform the act.
Obtain the Services of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Our federal criminal defense lawyers are skilled at providing strong representation in even the most challenging internet crime cases. If you need strong legal representation in a criminal case, contact the Federal Criminal Law Center today.