With the rise of the internet, and the availability of internet just about everywhere, including on your smartphone, there is a whole new world of potential criminal activity. While some cybercrimes are obvious, others are more difficult to understand, which makes it devastating and shocking when you get arrested and charged. Here are a few things you need to know about some of the most common cybercrimes, and how to avoid them.
What Constitutes a Cybercrime
Some of the most common crimes that prosecutors pursue include:
- Child Pornography – this crime is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the laws. Any exploitation of children in the form of digital materials on your phone or computer—such as videos or photos—could get you in trouble. This is true even if you did not intentionally download files, which can happen if you click something that downloads malicious code to your computer and contains child pornography files. It could also be someone you know who uses your computer to access child pornography. You may not have done it yourself, but the fact that it happened on your computer can put you at risk for prosecution.
- Cyberbullying or Cyberharassment – if your online conversations go too far you could be looking at a cyberbullying charge, especially if your comments are frequent, threatening, or mention things that fall under hate crime laws, such as race. Harassing or stalking someoneonline or posting “revenge porn” pictures and videos from past relationships could also land you in hot water. Don’t use the internet as a place to vent your frustrations.
- Identity Theft and Fraud– if you use the internet to steal a social security number, credit card information, open a bank account using someone else’s information, or otherwise obtain personal information that doesn’t belong to you, that’s a crime.
- Digital Copyright –stealing things that have copyright protection, such as movies, TV shows, or music, can carry severe penalties even if you don’t profit from it.
- Online Transactions – if you buy or sell things online, make sure you pay for the things you bought or ship the promised item(s), or you could be charged with a crime.
Prosecutors Take Cybercrime Seriously
Today both federal and state laws take cybercrimes very seriously, especially those involving children, or those that prey on vulnerable populations like the elderly. Many prosecutors will press both state and federal charges against cybercriminals, and most of these charges will be felonies.
A Cybercrime Conviction Can Be Devastating
In addition to the potential for a long prison sentence or the requirement that you pay a hefty fine, many cybercriminals are required to register in a state white collar crimes database, which can make it hard to get a job or a professional license through the state in the future. If you are accused of a crime against children, you may also be required to register as a sex offender, which comes with severe and lifelong restrictions on what jobs you can hold, where you can live, and more.
If you are charged with a cybercrime, contact the Law Office of Brad R. Anderson today to get the criminal defense attorney representation you need to fight the charges.