Crimes Involving Computers

Types of Computer Crimes
Harassment occurs when a person engages in any course of conduct with the intent to harass, torment or threaten another person after having been forbidden to do so by any Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, Constable, Police Officer or Justice of the Peace or by a court in a protective order. The impersonal character of email and instant message make them attractive to those wishing to communicate threatening messages.

Theft / Fraud
Most thefts involving computers occur 1 of 2 ways:
  • When a person obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with intent to deprive the other person of the property, or when a person obtains or exercises control over property of another as a result of deception and with intent to deprive the other person of the property.
  • A increasingly common fraud among computer criminals involves sending a victim a large cashier’s check with a request that the victim deposit the check into their account and then wire the money overseas.  Many of these scams originate from Africa and Eastern Europe where U.S. jurisdiction is limited.
Phishing / Pharming
Phishing is the process whereby identity thieves target customers of financial institutions and high-profile online retailers, using common spamming techniques to generate large numbers of emails with the intent of luring customers to spoofed web sites and tricking them into giving up personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. Computer criminals have become very good at making their spoofed web sites look just like legitimate ones.

Criminal Invasion of Computer Privacy
A person is guilty of criminal invasion of computer privacy if the person intentionally accesses any computer resource knowing that the person is not authorized to do so.

This crime is considered Aggravated if unauthorized copies are made of any computer program, computer software or computer information, if a person intentionally or knowingly damages any computer resource of another person, or if a person intentionally or knowingly introduces or allows the introduction of a computer virus into any computer resource. 

This crime may be perpetrated by hackers or disgruntled employees. It is important to keep your computer resources secure and to establish policies regarding employee access to computers.

Soliciting a Child by a Computer to Commit a Prohibited Act
A person is guilty of soliciting a child by a computer to commit a prohibited act if:
The actor uses a computer to solicit, entice, persuade, or compel another person to meet with the actor and the actor is at least 16 years of age and knows or believes the child is less than 14 years of age, and the actor has the intent to engage in any one of the following prohibited acts with the child: a sexual act; sexual contact; or sexual exploitation of a minor.  Help law enforcement by educating your child about safe online behavior.  Resources can be found at Netsmartz.

Criminal Threatening
A person is guilty of Criminal Threatening if he intentionally or knowingly places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury. This crime may also be facilitated by the impersonal nature of the internet.