We all spend a surprising amount of time on the internet these days. Our virtual world has quickly replaced the natural world in some ways. So it’s not surprising to realize crimes happen right alongside social media use, movie watching, and email checking. If you’re wondering just what type of online activity could land you in jail, read on and learn more about the most prosecuted cybercrimes today.
Those pesky emails in your inbox aren’t just a nuisance, some are actually against the law. Yes, email spam is a crime that can send a person to jail. However, not all spam is illegal. If someone hacks into your email account and sends emails out for commercial gain, it’s against the law. So is commercial emailing that deceives, tricks, and falsifies all in the name of money.
Hacking is a bit different than spamming. A hacker can access your email account, but a serious hacking crime would involve accessing large online databases with financial information, stealing a person’s identity, or hacking out of maliciousness. Many people send confidential business information, manage their bank accounts, and use credit cards on a daily basis all online. When someone hacks into any account, email or not, they can go to jail for up to 5 years, if not more.
You may see wagering over a sports outcome as benign, but if you get caught, you could land in big trouble. While online gambling is regulated by your state, online sports betting is still considered a crime. Criminals can plan to spend at least two years in the slammer for this one.
Non-Delivery of Merchandise
Otherwise known as wire fraud, this crime consists of taking money for something, then never sending the item. Some scammers send out emails or clickbait asking for money when they never have a product or service to provide. Other sellers may post something in an online auction and never plan to send it. Either way, this fraudulent activity is punishable by up to 20 years in prison!
Online harassment isn’t just morally repugnant, it can also lead to time behind bars. While you should never intentionally bully anyone in any situation, you should also be careful about anything you say online in jest. Text conversations are notoriously misunderstood, since the reader can’t determine your tone or meaning without facial expression and voice inflection. Cyber bullying can lead to two years in jail.
Child pornography is something we all wish would never exist. Transmitting child pornography online will lead anyone to a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years. Install popup blockers to eliminate any accidental clicking of these nasty links.
These are just six of the most prosecuted crimes on the Internet today. If you would like to fight to eliminate or prosecute these crimes yourself, consider getting an online master’s degree in criminal justice. You might be surprised how many jobs and work goes into the virtual world of today.