Many people use the internet as a part of their daily lives. Consequently, the number of fraud cases and charges has grown over the years.
A cyberfraud charge could come with steep penalties. Here are a few important facts about the process that may help people to prepare for their case.
Cyberattacks usually involve a party using unscrupulous tactics to gain the information of another party for some sort of gain, usually financial. For this reason, such cyberattacks fall under the umbrella of fraud and are therefore federal offenses. Each state, including California, provides its own regulation of computer fraud. However, there are certain elements that remain the same across the board. Cyberfraud occurs when parties use the internet, particularly e-mail, to engage in fraudulent activities, such as the following:
- Work-from-home scams
- Travel or vacation schemes
- Fake bills or rebates
- Chain letters
These are a few of the most common cyberfraud methods, but this is not an exhaustive list. It may be helpful to review California's law to understand the full scope.
Charges of cyberfraud are often in conjunction with other charges. To prove cyberfraud charges, the prosecution must show that the defendant sent the mail, that the material was deceptive and that the defendant's intent was to defraud the receiving party. If the prosecution is unable to successfully prove all elements without a doubt, the charges will not stand.
Sometimes the prosecution may initially seek a greater charge, and if that does not work, they may pursue cyberfraud. In regard to cyberfraud cases, each point of communication is a separate count. Therefore, even if a party sends the same e-mail to several different parties, each e-mail will count separately in the case.