The origin of many cyber crimes started in the real world, but the growing
use of technology in the U.S. has created opportunities for the advancement
of old techniques.
With the increased use of technology, bullying has spread from the confines
of a playground and made its way into target’s pockets. Most victims
of cyber bullying are teenagers, and public awareness of the issue has
risen in recent years, partially due to high-profile cases of suicides.
- Invasion of Privacy: Not solely a cyber-related crime, invasion of privacy in regards to cyber
bullying gained a lot of media attention after the 2010 suicide of Rutgers
freshman Tyler Clementi following public viewings of a private encounter
filmed without his knowledge. Invasion of privacy can involve recordings
or public viewings put together without the recorded party’s knowledge
or consent. Other cases involve “leaked” sex tapes or nude
photos that can also be used as blackmail against the targets.
- Cyberstalking: While anyone could be a potential target of cyberstalking, most cases involve
public personalities, current or former romantic partners, and women.
Some of the more recent high-profile cases involve female game developers
following the Gamergate controversy, with online users targeting individuals as a mob.
With the increased accessibility provided by the internet, thieves have
moved on from hitting banks to hitting individuals directly. If you aren’t
careful, one wrong email can lead to a drained bank account or a stolen identity.
- Advance-fee scam: This is one of the most common scams populating email inboxes across the
country, and involves the promise of significant shares of some “inaccessible”
sum of money. In return, all the target needs to do is invest a small
up-front payment. In some cases the scammer will send further requests
for money, citing complications that prevent their access to the funds
they’re hoping to share, or in others they will simply disappear.
- Identity theft: While identity theft isn’t an exclusively online crime, the internet
has increased the risk surrounding it. Scammers will often target sensitive
information like Social Security numbers, Medicare numbers, addresses,
birth certificates, financial account numbers, and passwords. Physical
documents are often the targets of real-world theft, but cyber attempts
to steal information through emails asking for sensitive information.
Most websites have disclaimers stating they will never ask for that kind
of information outside of specific pages on their websites.
- “Account suspension”: Often used to target sites like PayPal, the scammer will send an official-sounding
email claiming that your account is at risk of being suspended or terminated
unless you enter your username and password in an unofficial webpage.
Most websites, including PayPal, have pages dedicated to dealing with
potential scammers and prominently display disclaimers stating that they
will never ask for sensitive information like passwords, bank accounts,
or credit cards
Cyber Sex Crimes
While there are cases of legal adults being the target of cyber sex crimes,
most cases involve adults targeting minors. While a large portion of these
crimes are deliberate, there are cases of underage individuals sending
explicit photos to each other that are later either discovered by a parent
or distributed throughout a school. In these cases, even if the party
with the explicit photos is also underage, they may be in trouble with
the law for possession of child pornography.
- Child pornography: Given the illegal nature and social taboos surrounding child pornography,
and the anonymity the internet can provide, the majority of activity in
this area occurs online. A major issue for law enforcement attempting
to crack down on sites that distribute child pornography is international
law. Because servers can be hosted in countries across the globe and different
countries have different laws regarding child pornography, it may be impossible
to completely shut down offending sites.
- Sexual solicitations: Underage solicitations are a big enough issue to warrant a reality TV show
based around tricking and detaining predators. Unlike the cases featured
in ‘To Catch A Predator,’ not all cases of sexual solicitation include real-world meetups.
Some occur entirely online, often in chat rooms.
If you have been arrested or charged with committing a cyber crime in Ohio,
contact Koffel Brininger Nesbitt today for a confidential case evaluation.
Our offices are located in Columbus, OH, but we represent clients statewide,
and are regarded as one of the leading criminal law firms in Ohio. Don’t
wait to get the representation you need to defend yourself in court.