Federal Internet Crimes Are Often Prosecuted in Texas Federal Courts

Five Common Types of Internet Crimes

Internet crimes run the gamut from dizzyingly technical phishing attacks to salacious matters involving pornography and online sex.

This article will examine Five common types of online crimes.

1. Fraud schemes

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (also known as the IC3), the biggest web fraud crime (44%+ of fraud cases) is auction fraud. This involves duping victims through services like eBay. Other kinds of fraud include:

o Confidence fraud o Online bank fraud
o Credit card fraud o Failure to deliver merchandise
2. Sexual/pornographic Internet crimes

Possessing, distributing or producing sexual images of children under the age of 18 can be punished swiftly and brutally. Prosecutorial crackdowns do catch legitimate offenders; however, innocent people who make small errors in judgment and wind up in possession of illegally obscene material can get caught up in the net as well.

3. Identity theft-related Internet crimes

Spam and scam artists siphon tens of millions of dollars from web users annually. One popular crime is called spoofing (a.k.a. phishing). In this crime, a person sends a fake e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate business to trick the victim into giving away personal information, such as a Social Security or credit card number.

Hacking is another kind of identity fraud. A malicious user breaks into a computer system and uses the unauthorized access to commit further crimes, such as stealing from an online bank account.

4. Cyberstalking/harassment

Cyberstalking can be considered legally equivalent to real world stalking — and can be punished accordingly. The following could constitute cyberstalking:

o Sending unwanted e-mails to a person
o Impersonating someone in a forum or chat room o Spreading lies or rumors about someone on the web
Online harassment is a sister crime. The following could constitute harassment:

o Sending repeated annoying emails to someone
o Threatening someone physically in an e-mail or chat room
5. Online investment fraud

Online fraud crimes can get very creative. A famous example is the Nigerian Letter Scam. The scam artist e-mails a victim, claiming to be a foreign businessperson or benefactor (e.g. a high-up in the Nigerian government). The rich foreigner is in desperate need of a small amount of cash to get out of a jam. The victim is encouraged to send that cash to an overseas bank account — in exchange for a promise (never delivered, of course) of a big reward later on. Thousands of variations on the Nigerian letter scam exist.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for an internet crime (or any other federal crime), you may need experienced legal counsel to craft a savvy defense.

I am board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I has tried over 150 criminal cases — in both federal and state courts. As a former prosecutor and FBI agent, as an experienced Federal Criminal Lawyer, I understand how prosecutors and judges think, and I use this perspective to develop powerful and surprising strategies for my clients.

Please read my website at www.micjbrownlaw.com to learn more about my credentials and philosophy.

Don’t let those burning questions keep you up at night. Get good answers and peace of mind – contact me at 432/687-5157.