There are many kinds of online scams, and if you’re accused of starting one, it’s a major threat to your freedom. If you’re convicted of scamming people, you could face heavy fines and jail time, so it’s necessary to defend yourself if you’re accused.

No two cyber crimes are exactly alike. The following are a few different crimes you might see online and how they affect the victims.

What kinds of crimes take place online?

Catfish scams are one crime that has become more common because of the growth of social media. Catfish scams are when someone creates a fake social media account to pursue an online romance. Some people obtain money or gifts in this manner, when they’re not really who they say they are. In the end, they may have several accounts with multiple “lovers” they scam.

Another common criminal act is the use of a pop-up to claim a person has won a prize. The individual being scammed may have to pay a small fee or fine, but the trick is that he or she never obtains the alleged prize. The person running the scam simply keeps the fees.

Another serious crime that you might run into online is if you are asked to pay a first-month’s rent for an apartment because a landlord is out of town. If he or she asks you to wire the funds to an out-of-state location, it could be because the property is not real and the person is not actually a landlord at all. The individual then takes the money and leaves the victim with nothing to show for the investment.

These crimes are serious, primarily because they are based on fraudulent activity. If you’re charged, a strong defense is necessary.

Source: FindLaw, “Online Scams,” accessed Oct. 11, 2017