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What is a phishing scheme?

As our world becomes more digitally entwined, internet crimes become more common. However, since the digital world is so complex and difficult to understand, some Californians may find themselves facing allegations related to computer crimes. In order to properly defend against such charges, it is important to understand what some of these crimes entail.

Today's post will focus on phishing schemes. These scams entail trying to fraudulently acquire and use another's personal or financial information. Typically what happens is that an individual receives an email from a seemingly reputable institution or government entity that asks him or her to verify personal information by clicking on a link contained in the email. The website that subsequently appears seems legitimate, but is actually controlled by fraudsters. Therefore, once the consumer verifies his or her personal information, the schemers can then collect and use that information for their own financial gain.

An individual accused of computer crimes, including phishing scams, could face harsh penalties, including a lengthy prison sentence and thousands of dollars in fines. A criminal conviction could also ruin an individual's reputation, rendering his or her personal life severely damaged.

Therefore, those accused of such crimes should vigorously fight the allegations. In a phishing scam, it might be helpful to assess the network on which the alleged scammer worked and assess his or her computer. When defending against such a charge seems daunting, an experienced California attorney may be able to help sift through the complexities and create a criminal defense that protects an accused individual's legal rights and, hopefully, freedom.

Source: FDIC, "Phishing Scams," accessed on Sept. 13, 2014

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