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What is an internet crime?

An internet crime is basically a crime that requires the internet to be committed. Examples include eBay fraud and some forms of identity theft.

I n Colorado, some people stand accused of internet crimes. But what exactly are these crimes? “Internet crimes” is a large umbrella that covers a wide variety of possible offenses such as eBay fraud, identity theft and stalking someone online. What all of these alleged crimes have in common is that the police and prosecution contend that suspects used the internet to commit them. Here is a look at some examples of internet crime.

EBay fraud

EBay fraud can be targeted toward sellers and buyers both. On the sellers’ side, for instance, sellers may ask buyers to contact them before bidding. The seller’s goal may be to directly get the potential buyer’s bank account information or other financial information.

On the buyers’ side, buyers may claim that an item arrived broken when it really did not, and claim a refund. There are many other potential eBay fraud instances.

Identity theft

Online identity theft can take many forms too. Someone could fill out online credit card applications using another person’s information, for example. Similarly, using another person’s financial information to make bank withdrawals can be a form of identity theft.

Stalking someone

Online stalking also comes in quite a few varieties. In one, a vengeful ex might gain access to email addresses and change passwords. Or, someone might gain access just to read emails and leave the passwords alone. The same concept applies to social media accounts.

In another instance, someone might attempt to spam another person’s account by using that person’s name and email address for many mailing lists. Another common case of online stalking occurs when someone sends multiple threatening or dangerous messages. Often, the lines between online harassment, stalking and identity theft can become blurred.

Of course, many other types of internet crimes exist. Some are sexually oriented, such as child enticement. Other possible crimes include credit card fraud and wire fraud.

One thing that sets internet crime apart from other types of crime is that the field is ever evolving. Police officers and prosecutors must often have specialized knowledge, and it can be easy for them to misunderstand or overstep laws. In some cases, because internet crime is an ever-changing field, there may not even be regulations in place yet for a certain act (or alleged act). Also, due to the data-intensive nature of the internet, it is relatively easy to frame other people for offenses. When anyone is charged in Colorado with an internet crime, an attorney can help advocate for his or her interests at every stage of the criminal justice process.