Internet Fraud and Computer Crimes in California- FAQ
1. What is an internet fraud crime?
Internet fraud is not a single crime. Instead, it’s a blanket term that describes several different fraud crimes that all involve use of the internet or computers. Some of these can be prosecuted under California law in California state courts. Others are federal crimes. Some are both California and federal internet fraud crimes and may be prosecuted in either California or in federal court.
2. Is “spamming” a crime?
SPAM, also known as “junk mail,” is a term that refers to unsolicited commercial emails that are sent out in massive amounts. The use of SPAM in itself is not illegal, but it is regulated. In the United States, spam was deemed legal by the passage of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 if the underlying message adhered to certain specifications.
3. How can I be detected for an internet fraud?
Internet fraud can be detected in a variety of ways. The easiest way is if law enforcement receives knowledge of your crime, through either a third-party report of your activities, or through monitoring of your cyber-communication. Yes, the government monitors computer activity. Warrantless searches of your online activity are not uncommon, especially since the Patriot Act of 2001. The Patriot Act exempts the government from obtaining a search warrant when investigating suspected terrorist activities. Theoretically, any behavior could be construed as a terrorist activity.
4. Is it illegal to upload music or movies onto the internet even if they don’t charge for it?
Yes. If the music or movie that you are uploading is copyrighted material, it is considered internet fraud to distribute them in any way without the permission of the copyright holder – even if you are distributing the material for free. This is called “piracy” and it is a federal offense.
5. If I accidentally download child pornography or receive unsolicited child pornography by email, can I be criminally charged?
Yes. The law requires that you destroy all child pornography in your possession. Even if your motivations are innocent or honorable, you may still be prosecuted for internet fraud for possession of child pornography as long as you have downloaded it onto your computer and saved it on your hard-drive or a storage disk.
6. What is “phishing?”
“Phishing” is the unauthorized use of personal or confidential information (as in credit card numbers) for the purpose of engaging in internet fraud activity. Phishing is a crime in California, as well as in most states.
Why do I need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent me if I’ve been charged with an Internet crime?
If you or a loved one has been accused of cyber crime or internet fraud, it is imperative that you contact an attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. The knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help explain the charges and properly defend you against them.
With offices in Tustin, Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Temecula and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented clients facing internet-related criminal charges. We have over 40 years of experience in making sure that our clients are treated fairly under the law and that they receive the best legal representation through every step of the process. We will help guide you through all of your options and help you to win your case.
Contact us at 877-4-NO-JAIL (877-466-5245) for a free telephone consultation.
We will get through this together.