Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors Last updated August 23, The general anonymity of the Internet has provided fertile ground for new forms of fraud. Online fraud scams can take many forms.
Here are just a few of the most common types of online fraud:. In a phishing schemethe scammer attempts to obtain private information from a victim by posing as a reputable entity in an or other electronic communication. For example, the scammer may send you an posing as a bank representative and claiming that your requires verification.
The would then direct you to a fake banking site where you would be asked to provide sensitive information like yourusername, password, and more.
With this information, the scammer would then have access to your. Unfortunately, most of them are.
Many work-at-home schemes require you to purchase expensive materials or pay upfront fees without providing you with the means to earn a living. Others are Ponzi schemes, requiring you to recruit others in exchange for a cut of the fees.
Like work-at-home opportunities, rental are sometimes too good to be true.
In a rental scamthe perpetrator places an ad on Craigslist or another classified site advertising a rental unit for a good price. The photos and other information are often stolen from legitimate listings. Sometimes, catfish convince their victims to send money or gifts, or to pay for their travel or other expenses. Are they telling the truth?
Probably not. If that fails, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission FTC or your local consumer protection office.
The FTC investigates and prosecutes cases involving a wide range of online fraud, including identity theftfake sweepstakes, credit scams, and more. The perpetrators of online scams are often charged with federal wire fraud crimes. Wire fraud is similar to regular fraud, except that it involves the use of interstate electronic communications, includinginstant messages, or other online activity.
If the perpetrators of an online scam are convicted, they may be ordered to pay restitution to their victims. In recent years, federal and state legislators have taken additional steps to help prevent online scams.
Inthe Anti-Phishing Act was introduced in Congress, proposing a five-year prison sentence for those convicted of phishing. While the Act was never passed into federal law, CaliforniaTexas, and a of other states have adopted the anti-phishing law. Internet fraud schemes can be subject to both federal and state laws depending on the circumstances.
If you've been charged with running an internet scam, or any other crime, it's in your best interests to consult with a local criminal defense attorney who can help craft the best defense based on the specific facts of your case. Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights.
Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help. Here are just a few of the most common types of online fraud: Phishing In a phishing schemethe scammer attempts to obtain private information from a victim by posing as a reputable entity in an or other electronic communication. Fake Apartment Rental s Like work-at-home opportunities, rental are sometimes too good to be true.
Get Legal Help with Your Internet Fraud Case Internet fraud schemes can be subject to both federal and state laws depending on the circumstances. Thank you for subscribing! Please try again.
Or contact an attorney near you:. Next Steps Contact a qualified criminal lawyer to make sure your rights are protected. Your location city, ZIP code or county Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select.