These days, it seems that the internet is everything. From smart phones to tablets, we access the web more often now than ever before and while it certainly has its perks, the internet is also a hotbed of crime and illegal activity.
Internet crimes are no laughing matter. Often classified as federal offenses, convicted individuals can find themselves dealing with the consequences of their behavior for years. So before you press your luck and consider committing a crime online to make a profit, remember that the penalties are just not worth it.
Below, we highlight five of the most common internet crimes that individuals today can be convicted of and some of the possible penalties.
1. Child Pornography
Any crimes involving children are serious and child pornography is no different. Any individual who uses the internet to transmit visual depictions of explicit conduct involving minors can be charged with child pornography. This is considered a federal crime, with offenders being subjected to imprisonment, fines, and possible registration as a sex offender.
It may sound harmless enough, but phishing is federally outlawed. This crime occurs when someone accesses a computer without authorization and proceeds to spam other individuals. Spam could include repeatedly sending the same email, using email messages to intentionally deceive recipients, or falsifying header information in emails. A minimum five year prison sentence is attached to this uncouth internet crime.
3. Accessing Stored Communications
This offense could also be classified as hacking. Anytime an individual purposely accesses someone else’s personal online account without authorization, it is illegal. Hacking can involve a wide variety of online information, include email and corporate accounts. If convicted, offenders can be punished with both incarceration and fines.
Malware is the crime of installing viruses and other damaging software onto a computer without the user’s consent. Often, it is accomplished by setting up software that appears legitimate, only to create serious problems for the unsuspecting user in the end. Penalties for this offense depend on the specific details, but can include fines and time behind bars.
5. Electronic Harassment
Social media is quickly becoming overtaken by abusive users who often remain anonymous or create false accounts, all with the sole purpose of harassing others. In the most serious cases, an offender could find themselves in jail for at least two years.
Given the severity of these penalties, you cannot afford to go without legal representation if you were recently charged with an internet crime. Our firm is prepared to aggressively defend your rights, so contact our Scranton internet crime attorneys today!