Have you been charged with running an online scam? Federal and State Law enforcement agencies are cracking down on online scams, and many online scams are charged as serious crimes. Alleged cyber crimes and scams often cross borders and jurisdictions and can be charged as federal crimes or conspiracies involving multiple actors.
If you have been charged with running an online scam, your first move should be to hire a skilled cyber crimes defense attorney immediately. Your next steps will be determined by the nature of the online scam you are accused of and the charges associated with it.
According to a recent FBI report, the most common online scams include:
Investment Fraud Scams
Investment fraud scams are the top scam in the US when it comes to money lost. There are many kinds of investment fraud scams which include Ponzi Schemes, Pump and Dump, High Yield Investment Fraud and Advance Fee schemes. The alleged fraud could involve impersonation of an individual or an organization or hijacking a social media or email account. If you are accused of investment fraud you could be charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and identity theft.
Phishing is a common type of online scam that involves communicating with someone in a fraudulent manner to get them to reveal personal details. If you have been accused of phishing you have likely been accused of the crime of identity theft.
Confidence Scams, Romance Scams or “Hey Grandma” Scams
Romance scams, “Hey Grandma” scams and confidence scams involve exploiting the trust of a connection or relationship made online. They can come in the form of personal emergency scams, which are requests for money from someone impersonating a relative who needs money in an emergency, or they can involve dating scams, confidence scams or romance scams in which a person is encouraged to put their trust in an individual they met online and send money or receive goods. These online scams may result in serious charges like identity theft, wire fraud and bank fraud.
Business Email Compromise Scams
Business email compromise scams are a form of online fraud or scam where legitimate business details and communications are hijacked to communicate with individuals, or people working at an organization. The goal is to get people to hand over sensitive details. If you have been accused of running a business email compromise scam you may be facing charges of wire fraud, bank fraud or identity theft.
Ransomware and Cyber Extortion Scams
Ransomware or Cyber Extortion scams involve phishing to get a person to click on a malicious link or hacking to obtain sensitive details and then demanding a ransom to restore access to encrypted systems or personal details. If you are accused of ransomware scams or cyber extortion you could be facing charges of computer fraud and / or cyber extortion.
Why You Need to Hire an Experienced Cyber Crimes Defense Attorney
If you are accused of cyber crimes and online scams, you could be facing federal charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud, computer fraud, identity theft and bank fraud, to name but a few. Each of these charges carries serious penalties. The federal crime of bank fraud for example, may be punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1,000000. Federal wire fraud and mail fraud charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
Whether you are facing Massachusetts state criminal charges, or you are being charged with federal crimes, the charges associated with complex online fraud schemes can stack up and result in severe prison sentences and fines. At Dhar Law, LLP, our experienced cyber crimes defense attorneys have defended countless serious white collar criminal cases in federal court. We believe in the right to a fair trial and building a robust defense for our clients. Contact us today if you are accused of running an online scam.