Pennsylvania Sixth in Nation for Internet Crime
Many people use the Internet to access information, stay connected with family and friends, and for other legitimate purposes. However, online hackers, as well as those who use the Internet for other unlawful means, do exist. A recent report issued by the FBI reveals that in 2015 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was near the top of the list when it came to Internet crime, placing it sixth among states in this crime category. Of all FBI complaints regarding criminal activity associated with the Internet, 3.31 percent originated from the Keystone State.
Despite the statistics, whether it involves stealing the personal information of others or engaging in other prohibited online activities, these crimes are dealt with severely in the Commonwealth.
If you are facing a criminal charge related to your activity over the Internet, you may be concerned about the possible consequences in front of you. Our Internet crimes attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC can fight to reduce or possibly eliminate your charges depending on the circumstances of your case.
Internet Crime Categories
Technology is ever moving forward, increasing the challenges for law enforcement to define and capture all of the various crimes that can be committed with a computer and online connection.
Although Pennsylvania ranks high in verifiable occurrences of Internet crime activity, the Commonwealth, through its Title 18 legal statutes, places these crimes in a structured series of categories for the purposes of law enforcement investigative and prosecutorial activities. The categories and what they entail include, but are not limited to:
Unlawful Use of Computers and Email (Hacking) – Third Degree Felony
- Destroying anything associated with a computer in an intentional manner and without permission
- Publishing any confidential information about any devices connected with or related to a computer with intentionality and knowledge
- Gaining access to, or surpassing the allowable use of, a computer, computer program, computer network, computer system, website, database, or any other element associated with computers with the intentional purpose of defrauding an individual or disrupting their normal function
Computer Theft – Third Degree Felony
- Unlawfully gaining access to or surpassing the permissible level of access to data on a computer, computer network, or computer system
- Duplicating data on any computer system for the purpose of stealing that data from the rightful owner
Computer Trespass – Third Degree Felony
Knowingly and without permission using a computer or computer network to:
- Delete or modify any data
- Cause a computer malfunction
- Change an electronic funds transfer or financial instrument
- Damage the property of another person
Online Child Pornography – Third Degree Felony (first offense)
- Knowingly possessing or intentionally viewing any depiction/portrayal of a minor (under 18 years old) engaging in a sexual act
Online Harassment – Third Degree Misdemeanor
- Performing any conduct with the intention to annoy or harass any person through Internet or electronic mail communications
Online Stalking – First Degree Misdemeanor (first offense)
- Communicating with another person repeatedly through the Internet or electronic mail with the intention to cause that person emotional distress or a reasonable fear of physical injury
Along with the fact mentioned above that Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation for Internet crime, the FBI’s 2015 report also offers other startling statistics for the nation as a whole. Those who fell victim to Internet crimes lost more than $1 billion as a whole in that same year. These losses were divided among more than 288,000 complaints, which equates to an average cost of approximately $8,400 per victim.
Several of the most commonly reported Internet crimes that account for these losses include: identity theft, non-delivery or non-payment, extortion, personal data breach, phishing schemes, and credit card fraud.
Contact an Experienced Internet Crimes Attorney
Due to the fact that computer and internet crimes can cause a significant negative financial impact on personal users and business owners, these offenses are dealt with harshly by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you are currently charged with an internet crime, you need intelligent and experienced legal representation to defend your rights and fight for your freedom.
Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free case evaluation.