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Computer Fraud Lawyer

Worried you or your organization has been targeted by cybercriminals or your computer is being used for criminal activities? You are not alone. In 2019, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) registered 1,300 complaints per day on average. Individuals and businesses lost a staggering US$3.5 billion to computer frauds and cybercrimes[1]. These instances can result in you being falsely accused and tried on criminal grounds or cause you financial losses. The best way to deal with these situations is by contacting and consulting a computer and internet fraud attorney. Computer fraud lawyers understand the technicalities of both legal and technological aspects at play in such situations and will protect your rights and interests in such cases.

What Is Computer and Internet Fraud?

Computer fraud and abuse encompass wide-ranging activities. The use of any computer or system connected to the internet for defrauding victims or obtaining protected information is termed as computer and internet fraud. Typically, criminals commit these acts with the intention of stealing bank account information, personal information, or other online assets. This information is then sold or transacted for money or other financial gains. With technology changing and advancing rapidly, the culprit and sometimes the crime is difficult to detect. Consequently, everyone connected to the internet is vulnerable and a prospective target for cybercriminals.

Types of Computer and Internet Frauds

Before we delve deeper into understanding the laws around computer and internet fraud let’s take a look at the most common types of frauds you may be subjected to:

Phishing

One of the most common types of internet fraud, phishing, also known as smishing, vishing, and pharming, involves criminals using fake emails masked as coming from legitimate businesses to drive unsuspected recipients into divulging sensitive information such as credit card numbers, personal information, passwords, bank information, etc. These emails contain either contain infected attachments or redirect recipients to malicious sites to gather their personal information. By doing so, fraudsters undermine the recipient’s security or the organization they work for. The information is then either used to blackmail and individual or to hurt them monetarily.

Malware

Malware is a software intended to infect a computer by damaging the data on it or using the system to commit other criminal activities. The software disables computers or restricts access to the internet. By doing so, the criminals scare the victims and solicit funds from them to undo the damage.

Ransomware

A form of malware, ransomware restricts users or organizations from accessing critical data or solutions. It does so by encrypting sensitive data on the computer it is executed on. Ransomware is speared to organizations and individuals using phishing emails. The criminals or ransomware users then demand funds from the victims, generally, in the form of cryptocurrency, to release the critical data and sensitive information they are withholding from the users.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the most common computer frauds that occur in the United States. It occurs when a person uses a networked device to steal the victim’s personal information and use it for illegal activities. Generally, the technique is used to gain access to the victim’s bank account or credit cards and used by criminals to financially benefit from the information that they steal.

Other computer and internet crimes include money laundering, credit card fraud, denial of service, data breaches, email account compromise, altering computer data, investment fraud, internet extortion, investment fraud, etc.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Enacted in 1986, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the primary federal law that deals with computer and internet frauds. The law deems illegal activities involving a computer or other digital devices a federal crime. Initially, the law was drafted to protect federal information stored on federal computers and other bank and financial details the government wanted to protect. Later on, the law was expanded to protect all the computers connected to the internet and involved in interstate and foreign business and commerce.

The CFAA broadly deems the following actions as federal crimes:

  • Espionage: The law deems it illegal for individuals and organizations to gain unauthorized access to classified government information.
  • Theft of Data: The CFAA prohibits individuals and organizations from gaining unauthorized access to credit and other financial information stored on computers connected to the internet.
  • Computer Fraud: The law deems the use of a protected computer with an intent to defraud and obtain information valued at over US$ 5000 in any one-year period illegal.
  • Malware and Viruses: According to the CFAA, any person that knowingly causes the transmission of a malicious program, command, code, or software and intentionally uses it to damage a protected computer is punishable by law.
  • Sharing Passwords: CFAA makes it illegal for people to access and share passwords that lead to unauthorized access to computers.
  • Cyber Extortion: The law prohibits anyone from extorting money or any other thing of value by using the computer or the information stored on it as a threat.

Most computer and internet frauds are adjudged based on CFAA as these crimes involve more than one state. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the government agency that is typically in-charge of working and dealing with computer fraud and internet crimes. A person found guilty of committing a crime stated under the CFAA is either asked to pay a fine or imprisoned or both depending on the nature and severity of their crime. On average, a person guilty of first offenses is charged US$ 5000 per crime and can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Why Hire a Computer Fraud Lawyer?

Hiring a computer and internet fraud lawyer will benefit you in the following ways:

  • If you have been a victim of computer fraud, a computer and internet fraud attorney will ensure the damage is brought to a halt and you are protected from any further harm that a criminal can inflict.
  • An expert internet fraud lawyer will represent you in court and protect you from getting bullied by the other party’s attorney.
  • Even falsely being accused of internet and computer fraud can result in you ending up in jail and paying hefty fines. A seasoned computer fraud lawyer will ensure that the case against you is completely dismissed and that your record is cleared off any false claims made in the case.
  • A computer and internet fraud attorney will evaluate your case and guide you towards taking the best course of action.
  • At times negotiating a plea bargain is the best way to get out of serving time in prison or paying huge fines. An expert internet fraud lawyer will help you negotiate the plea bargain and will save you from harsh punishments and penalties.

Have you been a victim of computer and internet fraud? Or falsely accused of committing an internet crime. A seasoned computer fraud attorney can help you in either case. Fill out the form provided alongside and we will find the computer fraud lawyer that is best suited to your case.