Internet Crime Defense Attorney in Naples
Collier County, Florida federal criminal justice lawyers
The Internet empowers people around the world to communicate, share content and buy and sell goods and services. Just as in the so-called real world, this virtual venue can be the scene of crimes. Internet crimes typically involve some type of fraud or identity theft. Some entrepreneurs might believe that they are participating in legitimate business opportunities only to find themselves under investigation due to customer complaints. Individuals also engage in casual business transactions online that might place them under the scrutiny of law enforcement. The simple act of accessing a computer without authorization can violate federal law. A Naples internet crimes lawyer can advise people under investigation or represent those already facing criminal charges. Many internet crimes qualify for federal prosecution, which places suspects at serious risk of harsh penalties.
Main types of Internet or computer crimes
People who find themselves accused of internet crimes will most often face allegations related to:
- non-delivery of merchandise
- fraudulent sales transactions
- collection of advance fees for various fraudulent goods or services
- bogus sweepstakes and lotteries
- false work-at-home opportunities
- romance scams
Internet fraud committed after grooming lonely adults through contact on social media platforms is particularly common in Florida according to the FBI. The romance scam uses the ruse of online friendship and romance to build a bond with someone before then asking for money or some other type of favor. The operators may be located in foreign countries. They study people’s social media profiles to learn about their tastes, habits and emotional triggers. They then send a friend request, strive to cultivate a relationship and eventually ask for money. In some cases, they ask people to receive a package and then forward it to another party. In addition to tricking people into giving up money, the offenders may also use them as part of a money laundering plan.
Phishing for account logins
Phishing deserves special attention due to its prevalence. Phishing is the word for sending an email or other online message in an attempt to get recipients to reveal login credentials for a bank account or other type of useful account. The message might contain an attachment that attacks the recipient’s computer or network in search of exploitable information. However, the messages often contain a link that will take the person to what looks like the company where they hold some sort of account. The sender pretends to be an account representative, usually from a financial institution, and urges the recipient to login to an account to correct some important problem.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
This federal act specifies multiple activities as computer crimes, such as:
- unauthorized access of a computer to obtain information protected for national security purposes
- unauthorized access of a computer at a U.S. government agency to obtain the agency’s protected information
- using a computer to take financial information from a consumer reporting agency
- intentionally accessing a nonpublic computer owned by a government agency for the exclusive government use
- knowingly accessing a computer without permission with the intent of committing or contributing to fraud
- transferring a destructive program or information to a protected computer
- knowingly trafficking login credentials or other information to enable access to a government computer for the purpose of fraud
- knowingly trafficking login credentials or other information to enable access to a non-government computer for the purpose of fraud in interstate commerce
- threatening people to obtain protected information or to damage a computer for the purpose of extorting something of value in relation to interstate commerce
Ask an attorney about internet crimes defenses
A portion of internet crimes are prosecuted on the state level. However, federal criminal charges are frequently possible due to the likelihood of an internet crime taking place across state or international borders. People under suspicion for a computer crime or internet fraud can speak confidentially with a federal defense attorney at Joffe Law, P.A. in Naples. We take action to protect our clients from violations of their rights during investigations. For those facing criminal charges, defense options exist. The digital evidence necessary to prosecute these crimes may be incomplete and open to challenge. Potential penalties include payment of restitution, fines of $10,000 and 5 years in prison. Representation from an attorney who has gone to federal court many times is crucial in such a high stakes situation.
Internet Crime FAQs
What are defense strategies for Internet crimes?
Each case has unique characteristics that direct the choice of a defense strategy. Vulnerabilities in evidence could enable a federal defense attorney to argue that a defendant has been wrongfully accused due to mistaken identity. In other circumstances, law enforcement may have entrapped a person or collected evidence during an unlawful search. The law clearly specifies that a defendant must knowingly commit the crimes. Someone deceived by other parties into unknowingly participating in an internet crime may argue that the charges are invalid.
Is Internet crime the same as cyber crime?
The terms are largely interchangeable except that internet crime specifically applies to offenses that depended on websites, emails, social media posts or social media messages. Cyber crime applies broadly to any offenses committed on a computer or computer network but do not necessarily involve the internet.
Who investigates Internet crimes?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency for investigating internet crimes. The Federal Trade Commission might also receive consumer complaints about scams encountered online. Local police departments will respond to internet frauds that appear to be originating within the Naples area and affecting local victims.