Browsing the internet, owning a smartphone, and even existing in the modern world are filled with risks. Cybercrimes are rampant, and every individual must protect themselves, as well as their computer, network, and personal information. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), today’s most common cybercrimes include:
- Business e-mail compromise (BEC)
- Identity theft
- Spoofing and phishing
- Predatory online behavior
Other common forms of cybercrime include debit or credit card fraud, online credential breaches, online intellectual property infringements, and cyberstalking.
What Is Business E-Mail Compromise (BEC)?
Business email compromise (BEC) or email account compromise (EAC) happens when a scammer sends an email that looks like it’s from a trusted source to steal money from people, trick them into revealing confidential information or install malware on their computer.
Victims are convinced they are conducting legitimate business – personal or professional – until the money is wired into the wrong account, their information is compromised, or their computer is overrun by viruses. BEC is one of the most financially damaging online crimes.
What Is Online Identity Theft?
Online identity theft occurs when someone steals personal information and uses it to commit theft or fraud. Someone may use your social security number to apply for unemployment benefits, impersonate you online, or use your information to gain access to your bank accounts.
Debit or credit card fraud is another form of identity theft in which someone uses your debit or credit cards to make unapproved purchases.
What Is Ransomware?
Malware and ransomware are the most common type of cybercrime. Malware refers to any type of malicious software that appears on your computer, including Trojan viruses, worms, spyware, and ransomware. Hackers may be able to remotely control your computer, spy on your keystrokes to gain passwords and other personal information and even steal documents from your device.
Ransomware is a form of malware that locks away devices, networks, and important documents until the victim pays a ransom. People using ransomware typically target organizations like hospitals and law firms that cannot afford to be separated from their technology for even a short time.
What Are Spoofing and Phishing?
Spoofing and phishing are strategies that may trick you into revealing personal information. You may receive a phone call, an email, a text message, or a voicemail that asks for personal information. Usually, scammers use a trusted source to send these emails or “spoof” a familiar email address or phone number.
You might receive a call about your car’s extended warranty or your social security card from people pretending to be the car dealer or the Social Security Administration. Or you might receive a text message from a friend that says “look at this photo of you” with a link. As soon as you speak to the person on the phone or open the link, these scammers or fake sites will ask for personal information.
Scammers use spoofing and phishing in BEC and EAC to engage in online identity theft, debit or credit card fraud, and other crimes – and spoofing and phishing are cybercrimes themselves.
How Online Predators Are a Growing Threat to Young People
While adults may be aware of cybercrime and know to be wary of strangers on the internet, children are naturally trusting. Predators may use websites, software, games, and apps to forge relationships with young children and manipulate them into sharing sexually explicit images or videos. They may also pretend to be someone else, like a fellow child, and ask to meet up in real life when their real intention is to harm or abduct the child. Parents must be extremely vigilant about their children’s online behavior, especially on social media.
What Are Some Other Cyber Crimes?
Most cybercrimes aim to obtain sensitive information and exploit victims. Online credential breaches, for instance, occur when scammers obtain important passwords – like the password to your bank account – and use this information to make money, possibly draining your bank account in the process.
Scammers may also use your personal information to impersonate you while committing a crime. Some people use intellectual property to create counterfeits and profit off a respected brand name or logo, like with fake Louis Vuitton handbags.
People who do things that are against the law in real life may also do them online, including stalkers and sex offenders. Cyberstalking occurs when someone harasses or frightens you on the internet and may include false accusations, defamation, slander, and libel. Sometimes, cyberstalkers obtain and leak personal information or photos. Occasionally, the internet emboldens bad behavior. An individual may be nice at school and engage in cyberbullying on the internet.
Offline or online, criminal behavior is criminal behavior.
What Happens If You Get Accused of a Cyber Crime?
If you’ve been accused of a cybercrime, you need to act quickly. Someone may have stolen your identity or there may be an honest misunderstanding, but in any case, protecting your rights is crucial.
Your first step should be contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Foley Griffin, LLP, we have more than 75 years of collective legal experience, and we handle white-collar crimes like identity theft, counterfeiting, and other internet crimes.Don’t trust just anyone with your case. Instead, call Foley Griffin at (888) 966-8480 or contact us online for a free consultation.