While the Internet has provided all of the benefits of near-instantaneous information exchange, it has also become an avenue for a sharp rise in non-violent crimes, and even has been attributed as a factor in the rise of certain violent crimes as well. Thus, nearly every state as well as the federal government have developed stringent and highly-specialized sets of laws governing the use of this information superhighway. Here are just a few common crimes that are frequently committed online.
Crimes having to do with money or finances occur very frequently, particularly with the increased availability of services such as online banking. Fraud constitutes in some way altering documents, information, data, or in some way performing an action you are not authorized to do. This commonly includes various forms of internet scams, such as dating fraud, charity fraud, phishing, and money transfer frauds, amongst others.
In all of these cases, the perpetrators are seeking to gain personal identification information from their victims for the purpose of defrauding them by gaining unauthorized access to things such as bank accounts, PayPal accounts, and more. Fraud is often closely associated with our next crime on the list.
While money is the most commonly possession stolen online, personal identification information can be stolen for the purpose of selling it to fraudsters, or even actual physical possessions can be stolen by gaining access to shipping records and rerouting packages.
Theft can occur very easily online, as small computer viruses can do things such as log keystrokes for important passwords, account numbers, and sensitive information, and then send the information to an outside source without the victim having any idea their computer might be infected. It’s always a good idea to make sure you are running and frequently updating an anti-virus software on your personal computer.
Solicitation/Grooming of a Minor
Sex crimes have spiked sharply in the internet age, particularly predatory crimes where the victim is a child. Particularly heinous sex crimes can include prostitution and child pornography, but the most frequently occurring sex crime involves sexually soliciting or grooming a minor and exploiting them for either racy images, or even to arrange a meeting where they then sexually assault the victim. This often is done fraudulently as the perpetrators usually pose as someone different online in order to make arranging the meeting easier. Similarly, this could also result in cyberextortion once these sensitive pieces of data are obtained.
Gaining unauthorized access to information you are normally forbidden from is a direct violation of privacy and is considered a federal crime. While hacking on a small scale can occur by someone breaking into your personal computer and gaining access to things such as tax records and other financial documents in search of personal information, hacking can occur on larger scales. One recent example occurred in 2014 when Sony Pictures was hacked by cyberterrorists who threatened to release the personal information of hundreds of Sony Pictures employees and their families, sensitive company emails, and valuable Sony intellectual property if it did not pull the release of their film The Interview.
The United States Department of Defense is widely renowned for having the strongest electronic firewall and anti-hacking system in the world due to the magnitude of sensitive information it protects. It is estimated that this firewall stops hundreds of thousands of hacking attempts every day.
The Internet has become an ideal place to turn for those looking to purchase illegal items of virtually every imaginable type. These online black markets are frequently based outside of the United States due to our country’s stringent laws preventing sites of this kind, however this does not prevent people from all around the world, including the United States from connecting on these underground electronic sites to trade everything from illegal firearms to illicit drugs to exotic animals. Human trafficking, generally considered to be a heinous crime all around the world, has turned almost exclusively to these online markets.
The Internet has even developed accepted forms of currency, including BitCoin, which is frequently used in these transactions to eliminate a financial paper trail, making it a preferred method for money launderers to offload large sums quickly.
The Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi is a Fort Worth criminal defense law firm that has helped numerous clients face charges for crimes committed online, and has demonstrated a level of legal practice excellence that has led to a largely successful record. Attorney A. Oliver Hassibi is Texas native, and possesses a familiarity with our state’s laws and statutes that give him an edge in assisting with the orchestration of your criminal defense.Call the Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi at (817) 953-2663 or reach out to us online by filling out this short form and we would be happy to provide you with an initial consultation for your case today.