Internet crime and cyber crime laws are fairly new because of the rapidly changing digital world. Just a few decades ago, these laws didn’t exist as there was no need to protect individuals on the internet. Because these laws are ever changing and complicated, defendants may feel lost and confused after being charged with a crime.
If you have been charged with committing an internet crime, don’t hesitate to contact the team at The SoCal Law Network. Our highly skilled Laguna Hills and Orange County internet crime lawyers will work tirelessly to defend you against the charges. Call 949-305-7995 to schedule a free consultation today.
How Can an Orange County Internet Crime Attorney Help?
Internet crime laws can be incredibly complex and confusing to defendants, so it’s essential that you hire an attorney that is knowledgeable in this area. Prosecutors have the burden of proving that you knowingly and willingly committed the cyber crime. Our team of experienced attorneys will work to review your case and identify potential flaws in the investigation. Together, the Laguna Hills and Orange County internet lawyers at The SoCal Law Network can help you achieve the best outcome possible in your cyber crime case.
What are the Types of Internet Crimes?
Under California law, internet crime refers to a number of different actions including but not limited to:
Phishing or identity theft
Internet fraud is a very broad term that encompasses many different fraud schemes. As the online world rapidly evolves, there is no doubt that new schemes will emerge. For now, the most common schemes committed in California include:
Non-delivery merchandise fraud – The victim pays for a product or service online, but then never receives it.
Advance fee fraud – Asking someone to pay ahead of time for a service or product to be provided at a later date is an advance fee payment. When the service or product is never delivered to the person who has paid, this is an advance fee fraud.
Real estate overpayment fraud – A man responds to an ad for an apartment for rent in Orange County. He tells the renter that he lives out of the country, but will be moving to the U.S. soon. He sends a check to the renter that is much higher than the required deposit and asks that the renter cashes the check and wire the extra money back to him. Typically, he will tell the renter that this will help him set up a U.S. bank account. Once the extra money is wired, the renter discovers that the check was fake. Therefore, the man has received money from the renter and the renter has not received a dime from the man.
Prize, sweepstakes or lottery fraud – A scammer sends an email out telling receivers that they have won a prize, but have to pay a fee to retrieve it. After the receivers pay the fee, they discover that there is no prize and it was a fraud scheme.
Work-at-home scams – Fake companies advertise jobs that can be completed at home to applicants. Once applicants show interest, they are told to pay a fee to register or receive access to the jobs. After paying the fee, the applicants realize that the entire company and job does not exist.
Sales fraud – A woman purchases what is advertised as a designer handbag online, only to receive it and realize that it is a counterfeit bag.
Phishing involves deceiving an internet user into providing personal or confidential information. This is typically used to obtain credit card numbers that can then be used to illegally make purchases. If you are charged with obtaining personal information from people through phishing, you could face charges under the California Identity Theft Laws. This law prohibits:
Obtaining personal information without that person’s consent for any unlawful purpose
Acquiring or holding onto personal information without that person’s consent with the intent to commit fraud
Selling, transferring or providing someone’s personal information to another person without consent
Selling, transferring or providing someone’s personal information to another person knowing that the information will be used to commit fraud
Under this law, personal information is considered to be:
Name, address and/or phone number
Social security number
Driver’s license number
Health insurance information
Bank account number
PINs or passwords
Hacking is an act where an individual or individuals gain access to a computer, computer data or computer network without permission to do so.
Each of these internet crimes may carry a wide range of penalties, so charges should be taken with a great deal of seriousness. Contact the experienced Laguna Hills and Orange County internet lawyers at The SoCal Law Network for assistance with your case.
What are the Penalties for Being Convicted of Cyber Crime?
Cyber crime penalties can vary greatly, however if you commit internet fraud, you may face federal charges. Federal charges for the many different types of internet fraud mentioned above may vary depending on the defendant’s prior record and details of the crime, however you may face:
Up to 20 years in federal prison
If you have been charged under the California Identity Theft laws due to phishing, you could be facing either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on your prior record and the severity of the crime committed. For this charge, you could face up to three years in jail as well as monetary fines.
If it has been determined that you have committed federal identity theft as a result of phishing, you could face up to a maximum of 15 years in a federal prison as well as a steep monetary fine. The crime is considered to be federal identity theft if the personal information that was illegally obtained is used to commit or with the intent to commit any other federal crime or state felony.
Under California law, you can only be charged with phishing if you actually received the personal information. If the scheme was not successful, you cannot be charged. However, the Anti-Phishing Act of 2005 makes it possible for victims to sue the accused in civil court for restitution, even if the phishing attempt was not successful.
For hacking, the penalties may vary depending on the specifics of the crime, however you may face up to three years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine.
What constitutes an internet Crime?
A crime that is carried out on the Internet.
Are internet crimes a misdemeanor or felony charge?
As with nearly all crimes, Internet crimes can be a misdemeanor or felony
What are the punishments for Credit Card Fraud?
The punishments for Credit Card Fraud often depend on the amount of the fraud.
What Is the difference between credit card fraud and identity theft?
Credit Card Fraud can involve the taking of a person’s credit card for purchasing items, while Identity Fraud involves stealing someone’s identity.
Which government agency handles identity theft?
It depends. Sometimes it’s a State Prosecutor and other times it’s a Federal Prosecutor.
How Much Does an Internet Crime Lawyer Cost?
Potential clients will always have the opportunity to schedule a free consultation with The SoCal Law Network attorneys. After discussing the specifics of your case, our team will be able to discuss rates with you. Typically, Orange County defense attorneys charge a flat fee, however some cases may warrant an hourly rate depending on the complexities involved.
Have you or a loved one been accused of committing an internet crime? Contact The SoCal Law Network to speak with an experienced Laguna Hills and Orange County internet crime attorney to defend you against the charges. Call 949-305-7995 to schedule a free consultation today.
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