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What are the Consequences of Internet Fraud Charges?

Comments Off on What are the Consequences of Internet Fraud Charges?

In today’s digital world, protecting personal electronic data is more important than ever. State and federal laws impose harsh penalties on people who commit crimes over the internet, but many people are unsure what counts as a cyber crime. Any action that involves unlawfully obtaining information, money, or property from another person or entity via electronic means is usually a criminal offense. If you are facing charges for internet fraud, understanding these potential charges is vital to your case.

What Is Internet Fraud?

Internet fraud is the act of using the internet, internet services, or software that connects to the internet as a way to defraud or take advantage of victims. People who commit internet fraud usually intend to gain money or property from their victims or attempt to steal their identities. Internet fraud is a serious crime that can lead to fines and jail time.

Common types of internet fraud include the following.

  • Data breaches: A data breach is a leak of sensitive data from a secure location to a vulnerable environment where it is stolen by an unauthorized individual. This crime can happen to personal accounts as well as corporate databases.
  • Phishing or spoofing: Spoofing is the act of sending forged emails that do not come from the actual source. Phishing occurs when a person sends a forged email pretending to be a legitimate business in order to obtain information, such as passwords or bank account information.
  • Malware or scareware: This crime occurs when a person develops malicious software in order to damage or disable computers and computer systems. He or she can then use this software to obtain sensitive information.

What Is Considered Electronic Data Theft?

Washington has specific laws about electronic data theft, which is a crime that often happens in conjunction with common types of internet fraud. This crime occurs when a person obtains electronic data with the intent to take one of the following actions.

  • Devise or execute a plan to extort, defraud, deceive, or commit a crime in violation of state law
  • Wrongfully control, gain access to, or obtain property, money, or electronic data

A person is guilty of electronic data theft when he or she intentionally commits these actions without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe he or she had authorization. The Revised Code of Washington 9A.90.100 states that this crime is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.

An Attorney Can Help with Internet Fraud Charges

Facing a conviction for internet fraud can be intimidating. These crimes can result in several years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines and having a felony on your record can impact your quality of life for years after you serve your sentence. To combat these charges, you need an advocate.

A criminal defense attorney can represent your side of the story and fight for your optimal outcome during each stage of your case. Hiring a lawyer can provide several benefits to your case, including knowledge of the Washington criminal justice system and experience defending similar claims. If you have not done so already, contact your defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest.

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