The internet is a vast gateway to information, but crimes involving internet fraud are on the rise. Online scams are not always the result of large schemes. Even smaller operations, or individuals, commit crimes of internet fraud.
Electronic crimes are typically prosecuted at the level of a federal crime. The following crimes of internet fraud may seem somewhat trivial in certain circumstances, but they may carry significant penalties and punishments.
1. Identity theft
Whenever an individual uses another person’s identifying information for personal or financial gain, it is a crime of identity theft. Identity theft frequently involves hacking a person’s email, using personal documentation or stealing his or her financial information in order to gain resources.
Any purchases made through auction, resale or e-commerce sites without an intent to deliver the goods, or using a non-existent item, fall under the category of fraudulent internet crimes. Sellers usually ask for payment, but never deliver to the customer, often disappearing or deleting their account after receiving money.
From wildly inaccurate product descriptions to catfishing scams, offenders engaging in online misrepresentation may see prosecution for a cybercrime. Unlawful distortion of facts or falsification constitutes a crime so long as the victim experiences a financial loss or a loss of other resources due to the falsehood.
This internet crime involves fake emails, text messages or websites that appear to resemble another person or entity with the intent to gather personal information from victims. Such information may include credit card numbers, passwords, bank account information or personally-identifying information.