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Internet crimes: Federal crimes worth understanding

Internet crimes include numerous actions. They may include hacking a government computer, using another person's identity online or stealing credit cards for online purchases. Internet crimes could include selling a product and never shipping it, invading someone's privacy by reading their emails and other acts.

Internet crimes run the gamut, but one thing to be aware of is that they're all federal crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that victim losses topped $1.4 billion in 2017, showing just how serious internet crimes can be for those they involve.

What are common kinds of internet crimes?

Internet crimes have a wide range, but some common kinds include:

  • Advance fee schemes
  • Romance fraud
  • Investment fraud
  • Real estate or rental fraud
  • Corporate data breach fraud
  • Nondelivery/nonpayment fraud
  • Email account compromises
  • Personal data breaches
  • Credit card fraud
  • Identity theft

Each of these crimes has a different design, but the goal is to take advantage of a victim.

Is it possible to be falsely accused of an internet crime?

It's possible, particularly because it's easy for a skilled hacker or user to manipulate the technology in a way that implies that someone else was involved in the crime. Sometimes, accusations come from misunderstandings, too. For instance, you might lend a romantic interest money, but the individual may honestly need it. If you accused him or her of fraud, that may not actually be the case.

For people accused of internet crimes, the implications are huge. It's vital that anyone accusing you or others of criminal actions has the evidence to prove it, and you should develop a strong defense to negate what they say.

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