The Internet is unavoidable. Most people use the Internet for a variety of reasons, including shopping, keeping up with the news, staying in contact with family and friends, and more. However, there are times when cybercrimes known as Internet fraud can also be committed.
Internet fraud is a term used to describe a wide array of crimes that can be committed online. This can include, but is not limited to, identity theft, hacking, stalking, impersonating others, and more. Here, we want to review the consequences of facing an Internet fraud charge. A person can face charges at both the state and federal levels in these situations.
Online Fraud Charges in Pennsylvania
Internet fraud encompasses a wide range of crimes that can be committed using a computer. Typically, these involve unlawfully accessing, changing, or damaging a computer or computer network. Any person convicted of an Internet fraud crime in Pennsylvania can face major fines or imprisonment.
The vast majority of Internet and cybercrime charges in Pennsylvania are either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the fact and circumstances of the situation. The level of a charge can make a huge difference in how much time a person spends in jail or prison and how much they have to pay in fines. Additionally, any individual found guilty of an Internet fraud charge that resulted in another individual or entity losing money or assets may have to pay restitution to the victim.
It is important to understand that Internet fraud crimes could result in charges at both the federal and state level. When a person uses the Internet to commit a crime, the federal government can step in based on their ability to regulate interstate commerce. You see, the simple act of using the Internet means that you are crossing state lines, thereby allowing the feds to step in and take action. Additionally, individuals could face punishments for the same crime at both the state and federal levels.
Most Common Internet Fraud Crimes
Some of the most common Internet fraud crimes that people face charges for in Pennsylvania include the following:
- Phishing. This happens when individuals center agile emails pretending to be from legitimate sources and attempted to collect sensitive or personal information.
- Harassment. This is a form of cyberstalking that uses electronic communication such as social media, messaging apps, email, or websites to harass or stalk people.
- Ransomware. This occurs when individuals install malicious software on a computer system that will hold important information hostage until the targets meet demands, usually payment of some sort.
- Child pornography and solicitation. Possessing, producing, and sending or receiving sexually explicit material of people under the age of 18 is illegal at both the state and federal levels.
- Intellectual property theft. This is often referred to as piracy and can involve books, movies, music, and other documents being illegally obtained and made available for a free download.
- Account hacking. Any access to another person’s personal accounts and using this access for personal gain is illegal.
- Credit card fraud. Most credit card fraud begins with spyware, which is malicious software installed on a person’s computer or other type of device. This spyware collects data that is sent back to perpetrators of the crime who use credit card information to make fraudulent purchases.
This is certainly not a complete list of the types of Internet fraud charges that individuals can face in Pennsylvania. If you or a loved one are facing any type of cybercrime charge, speak to an attorney immediately. A skilled Internet fraud crime attorney in Pennsylvania will be able to step in and help you handle every aspect of these charges. You should not speak to law enforcement officials or prosecutors without your attorney present.