Computer and internet fraud

computer and internet fraud: an overview

Criminal activity involving the perpetration of a fraud through the use of the computer or the internet can take many different forms. One common form includes “hacking,” in which a perpetrator uses sophisticated technological tools to remotely access a secure computer or internet location. A second common criminal activity involves illegally intercepting an electronic transmission not intended for the interceptor. This may result in the interception of private information such as passwords, credit card information, or other types of so-called identity theft.

Federal law defines computer fraud as the use of a computer to create a dishonest misrepresentation of fact as an attempt to induce another to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss. Criminals create fraudulent misrepresentation in a number of ways. First, they can alter computer input in an unauthorized way. Employees may embezzle company funds by altering input data. Second, criminals can alter or delete stored data. Third, sophisticated criminals can rewrite software codes and upload them into a bank’s mainframe so that the bank will provide its users’ identities to the thieves. The thieves can then use this information to make unauthorized credit card purchases.

Violators may be prosecuted under:

See White-collar crime.

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