What Are Cybercrimes?
Usually classified as a white-collar crime, the term cybercrime refers to crimes or offenses accomplished through the use of computers and/or on the internet. As such, cybercrimes cover a wide range of situations and illegal activities. Additionally, it is not uncommon for cybercrimes to involve parties in other states and countries across the world.
Cybercrimes can be committed using any of the following:
- Chat rooms
- Message boards
- Instant messaging
In recent years, the rates of cybercrimes have increased dramatically. City, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have pushed to investigate and prosecute these crimes more aggressively. This has led to more people facing internet crime charges and stringent penalties upon conviction.
Examples of Cybercrimes
As mentioned above, internet crimes are incredibly varied. However, a common similarity among most cybercrimes is that they tend to involve some type of fraud or theft. From phishing scams to illegally accessing protected data, the ultimate goal of many internet crimes is to steal money or other valuable information.
Common examples of internet fraud and/or theft crimes include:
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Email scams
- Financial data theft
- Theft and sale of data
- Online extortion (cyberextortion)
- Internet fraud
- Ransomware attacks
- Credit card fraud
- Theft of intellectual property
In addition to fraud and theft, other types of cybercrime include harassment, child pornography, prostitution, and drug trafficking. Even unlawful internet gambling may also be considered a cybercrime.
Famous Cybercrime Example: The Nigerian Prince Email Scam
Perhaps one of the most notorious cybercrimes is the well-known “Nigerian prince” email scam. This scam is a type of phishing scam. In this scam, someone receives an email from another party in another country who claims to be royalty or someone in a high position of power with extensive wealth. The usual premise of this scam is that the wealthy individual needs to get a large sum of money out of their country but is somehow impeded from doing so without your help.
They will then ask you for your bank information to allegedly transfer the money to you. Sometimes, they may ask for a payment to cover the transfer fee. Once they have someone’s information, they will take the aforementioned payment while the subsequent transfer back to the victim never materializes. They may also drain the person’s bank accounts.
Depending on the information the victim provides, the perpetrator may also use this information to open other accounts in the victim’s name (identity theft), or to gain access to all of their financial assets, including credit accounts. This can all be financially devastating to the victim.
Though this scam has been around for decades and is incredibly well known, people still fall prey to it. Additionally, as online banking becomes easier and more ubiquitous, this scam shows no signs of slowing down.
What To Do If You Are Charged with an Internet Crime
Internet crimes may be charged at the state or federal level, depending on the circumstances of the case. However, most are charged as felonies. While all criminal charges should be taken seriously, if you are facing felony internet crime charges, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Internet crime laws can be complicated, and these cases are rarely straightforward.
The penalties associated with an internet crime conviction can be severe, including significant fines, extensive jail time, and potential required registry as a sex offender. At Foley Griffin, we have helped many clients deal with all types of cybercrime charges, including felony internet crime charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced and not afraid to fight for your rights. With so much at stake, having our experienced team behind you can bring peace of mind.
To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced computer crime defense attorneys, reach out to our law firm online.