With constantly advancing technology and the increasing number of internet users, the number of internet crimes committed has also increased in recent years. Internet users engage in various activities daily, and some of these activities could unintentionally lead to criminal charges. Some people use the internet to commit crimes intentionally, and many of these crimes don’t even make it to the headlines. The normal internet user is not even aware of the different kinds of crimes that can be done electronically, and that’s why they may become victims of internet crimes. Some common internet crimes committed are listed below:
Spoofing or Phishing (Business and Professions Code Section 22948.2)
Spoofing or phishing is the act of accessing a computer without authorization and sending multiple email messages in order to deceive the recipient. False information may be sent to the recipients who then become victims of this kind of internet crime. Anyone arrested for this crime can face a possible jail sentence of three years for a first offense. If the sender is also spamming for commercial gain, they may face up to five years in prison.
Extortion or Blackmail (PC 524)
When someone uses the internet to cause damage with the intent to extort money or something of value from another person, it is referred to as blackmailing. The hacker or person engaging in such activity may be threatening the victim to expose confidential information about them in exchange of money. Offenders can face hefty fines and a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.
Prostitution (PC 647(b))
When someone tries to coerce, engage, or entice another individual into prostitution, they may face up to 20 years in prison.
Criminal Copyright Infringement (18 U.S.C. Section 2319)
Infringing a copyright or distributing someone’s work for financial gain on a computer network can carry a possible sentence of three years in prison. The penalty and consequences will double for repeat offenders.
Child Pornography (18 U.S.C. Section 2252)
Using the internet to transmit child pornography carries a minimum sentence of 5 years, up to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
When someone anonymously uses the internet to threaten, abuse, harass, or annoy someone, they could face criminal charges that carry up to two years in prison.
Sports Betting (PC 337)
The act of engaging in the business of betting or wagering on a contest or sports event over the internet is considered a federal crime. This crime is punishable by up to two years in prison. The laws and regulations for non-sports betting regulations vary for different states.
Drug Trafficking (21 U.S.C. Section 841)
The distribution, delivery, and dispensing of a controlled dangerous substance over the internet is also a federal crime that carries serious consequences. The severity of the punishments depend on the amount of drug in possession. For example, the offender can get anywhere from 10 years in prison to life for one kilo of heroin. If there is serious bodily injury involved, the minimum sentence can go up to 20 years.
There are many other forms of internet crimes committed on a regular basis, such as Non-delivery of merchandise, accessing stored communications and so on. These crimes carry heavy penalties, sometimes as much as 20 years in prison. If you have committed an internet crime and are facing charges, you must get in touch with a criminal defense attorney right away.