Cyber crimes, such as computer fraud, have quickly become one of the most prolific and common types of crime in the State of New York. In particular, reports of computer fraud have increased significantly in the past five years. This jump in the overall number of computer fraud crimes committed in the past five years has caught the attention of NY prosecutors, who are pushing for better detection of computer fraud and more arrests.
As NY law enforcement and prosecutors focus on computer fraud and similar offense, more people than ever fall under investigations. How can you ensure your online actions won’t make you the target of their efforts to reduce computer fraud in NY? Avoid engaging in any of these actions that could qualify as computer fraud, or at the very least be mistaken for a crime.
#1: Sending Out Hoax Emails to Acquaintances and Businesses
If your friends are prone to jokes and jests over email, don’t become carried away. There is nothing criminal about sending a fake email to someone you know well and intending it as a joke, but your actions become suspicious and possibly criminal when you expand your network of recipients.
Fraudulent emails are one of the most common types of computer fraud in NY, and investigators take instances of an email hoax or scam very seriously. Whether you are asking for personal information, hawking a fake product, or sending people to a malicious website, these types are emails are problematic.
#2: Mining for Personal Information and Data
It can be tough for a new web developer, marketing agency, or startup to garner the information needed to make sales. However, employing your technology skills and know-how to illegally mine for personal information and data is a huge mistake. Whether you are hacking computer systems to learn names and email addresses or setting up software to pullback other information about visitors to your website, without their knowledge, you are committing computer fraud in NY.
At times, actions by a small business or tech-savvy entrepreneur can fall under investigation by NY law enforcement. Even if you aren’t using illegal tactics to learn more about prospects or to find personal information if you are questioned or the subject of investigation, it is the time to contact an NY computer fraud lawyer.
#3: Not Fulfilling Online Orders
Sadly scams have become a regular occurrence on eBay and other websites that sell or exchange goods, such as Craig’s List. When an individual on these sites takes orders that aren’t fulfilled or accepts payment for one product and provides a much cheaper alternative, an NY prosecutor can levy charges of computer fraud.
Yet, blatant and one-time misuses of websites aren’t the only examples of the promise of goods or product leading to computer fraud. If you create an e-commerce website and promise certain products, but never intend to deliver that product to a buyer, it is computer fraud in NY. These frauds can occur on a large scale, with some companies running entirely on false advertising and fraudulent products. However, sporadic instances of failing to fulfill orders or skimping on the quality of a promised product can also ignite the interest of an NY investigator.
#4: Installation of Malicious Software
Viruses and other malicious software cause substantial problems for individuals and business in NY. The actors that install this software, through websites, downloads, email content, and social media messages, are charged with serious crimes by an NY prosecutor. Even if you don’t intend to steal personal information or commit identity theft with malicious software, you may still commit a cybercrime. In NY, it is sufficient to direct traffic to a malicious website or send an email with an embedded virus.
#5: Phishing for Personal Information
Another common type of computer fraud is a phishing scam. A phishing scam is criminal when an email is distributed with a request for bank accounts, credit card numbers, or other personal information with the intent of collecting and using such information to commit a crime.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tactics used in phishing scams around the world to entice people to divulge their personal financial information. For example, a scam company may send an email that urgently requests someone’s bank account login because there is an issue with their account. Once the information is handed over, the perpetrator of the phishing scam locks the victim out of his or her online account and empties the bank account of all funds.
While a phishing scam might seem like an obvious type of computer fraud that is difficult, if not impossible, to accidentally copy, it isn’t. Misleading and confusing emails are mistaken for phishing scams all the time. In particular, emails from an unrecognized source that ask for personal information or seem illegitimate are regularly reported to NY law enforcement for investigation.
Hiring a Computer Fraud Lawyer
If you are accused of computer fraud, for any reason or set of online actions, you need to hire an NY computer fraud lawyer for your defense. Our team at Koch Law focuses on cyber crimes, including computer fraud in NY. You can reach our office and schedule a free consultation by calling (844) 562-4529.