What to Do if You’re the Victim of Internet Crimes
While we all rely on the internet every day, many people may not be aware of just how vulnerable they are to becoming the victim of a cybercrime. They also may not know what to do if that happens. Here’s a solid piece of advice: the top two things you should do is report it to law enforcement, and fight back.
Internet-based crime is one of the fastest-growing security threats in the nation. As millions of people make their personal information available on countless websites when ordering products, seeking information, conducting online banking or paying bills, they’ve become a target for hackers looking to commit identity fraud or to victimize users in other ways. But not enough cybercrimes are being reported today. There are, however, ways to protect yourself so you’re less likely to become a target of cybercriminals.
If you have been the victim of an internet crime, or if you’ve been accused of committing a crime using the internet, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help guide you on your rights under the law.
What are the Most Common Internet Crimes?
Most people are aware that criminals try to use the internet for scams, fraud, and other criminal activities, but they may not fully understand how they go about it. One of the most common criminal tools is malware, or a virus that poses a serious security threat. Criminals look for ways to get you to unknowingly download malware onto your computer, often by clicking a link on an email or visiting a website that’s been corrupted.
Hackers also look for ways to get your credit or debit card information, often by asking you to enter it into a fake website, or by eavesdropping if you’re using a public WiFi network.
Criminals often bypass victims and their computers altogether and go for something bigger, like hacking into the database of a bank, hospital, credit card company or social media site to commit identity theft on a grand scale. That could enable the hackers to put any of your personal information they secure up for sale on the Dark Web, including:
- Social Security numbers
- Date of birth
- Home address and phone number
Not all internet crimes are done for financial profit. Cyberbullying is also a growing problem, with victims targeted for harassment, public humiliation, and ridicule, including the growing problem of revenge porn. Another serious cybercrime is the sexual exploitation of children through child pornography.
How Can You Protect Yourself Against Cyber Crimes?
Before you do become a victim, here are some steps you can take to make it significantly harder for the hacker to take advantage of you.
- Install a security and antivirus device on your computers, laptops, and smartphones
- Register with a credit monitoring service that can alert you whenever there’s unusual activity with your credit card
- Use complex passwords that will be difficult for hackers to figure out
- Change your passwords frequently
- Take advantage of platforms like LinkedIn and Gmail that have pages where security breaches can be reported
- Update your software frequently
- Educate your kids about the risks of using the internet
What Should You Do If You’re an Internet Crime Victim?
If you do become the victim of an internet crime, understand that you’re not alone. And don’t allow a sense of embarrassment or shame for falling for these scams that prevent you from reporting the crime to the police. That’s exactly what cybercriminals are counting on. You can alert your local police, and also the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission, even if the crime seemed like a minor one. If you think hackers have stolen your identity, contact your bank or credit card company immediately, and save any related emails, texts, or messages as evidence.
If you’ve been accused of committing an internet crime that you believe is related to identity theft, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you build a strong defense for your case.
Contact an Orlando Cybercrime Attorney Today
All forms of cybercrimes carry heavy penalties in Florida and the nation. If you or a loved one have pending charges related to any kind of internet-based crimes, don’t delay in finding a knowledgeable attorney to defend you. Convictions of these crimes have a devastating effect on your reputation, career, and possibly freedom.
The Umansky Law Firm has more than 100 years of combined criminal defense experience and is here to help you through this challenging situation. Our legal team has former prosecutors who understand the burden of proof required and what types of negotiations are possible. Contact our office today about your case for a free evaluation and to learn what kind of defense you need for the best possible outcome.