Computer Crimes in the State of Arizona
In today’s rapidly advancing world, a Phoenix resident needs only to hit a few buttons on their computer to do things from the comfort of their own home that would have seemed like science fiction only a few decades ago. You can read millions of articles or stories or watch videos on just about anything you can imagine. You can instantly communicate with people you know – or even with people you don’t. You can buy and sell stocks, manage your bank accounts, buy anything under the sun and download anything that can be converted into a computer file, which these days is just about any kind of intellectual property.
Unfortunately, having everything you can imagine available at your fingertips also makes it incredibly easy to break the law. So easy, in fact, that sometimes you might not even realize that you are breaking it until someone sends you a cease and desist letter or the Phoenix police show up at your door, ready to arrest you. In order to protect yourself, everyone needs to understand what constitutes a computer crime in Arizona and how you can protect yourself if you suddenly find yourself charged with one.
Types of Arizona Computer Crimes and Internet Crimes
Because there is so much that we can do with our computers and over the internet, Phoenix computer crimes cover a wide variety of things, including:
- Internet Fraud – defrauding someone is illegal in Arizona, whether you do it in the real world or virtually; one example of this includes those emails we’ve all received saying that someone in a foreign country needs monetary help and will repay us tenfold if we send him or her cash
- Internet Crimes – any crime that takes place online
- Identity Theft – with more and more people entering their personal information into databases online, it’s easier than ever to find someone else’s information and use that for personal gain
- Credit Card Fraud – obtaining someone else’s credit card information and using it to make illegal purchases; this can be done by hacking into the systems of large websites or hacking into someone’s personal computer
- Internet Auction Fraud – if someone puts a product up for auction on a site like eBay that they do not actually have and receives payment for this nonexistent item, they have committed fraud
- Illegal downloading – all kinds of media are available for free online just by doing a simple search, but that doesn’t mean that what you’re getting for free is actually legal
- Computer Hacking – breaking into the computer of another individual or company
- Internet Pornography – providing illicit materials over the internet that have been ruled illegal
- Computer Crimes against a Child – any criminal activity perpetrated against a minor using a computer or over the internet
- Internet Sex Crimes – crimes of a sexual nature that have been perpetrated or distributed over the internet
- False or Incomplete Internet Transactions – in some ways similar to auction fraud, this applies when any business or individual does not live up to his or her end of an agreed-upon transaction for a product or service
- Computer Child Pornography – in Phoenix and other parts of Arizona, any email, picture, video or other graphic with indecent images of a minor might be considered child pornography, and you can face very serious charges even if you simply opened an email attachment with the image, clicked on a webpage, or accidentally forwarded such information
- Child Internet Solicitation – anyone attempting to solicit minors over the internet may find themselves the focus of a police investigation and discover that officers have been secretly collecting damaging evidence about their behavior
Charges for Computer Crimes in Arizona and How to Fight Them
Charges for Arizona computer crimes are taken very seriously and can involve steep fines and penalties. For the most severe crimes, you might even face jail time or a prison sentence. In the case of computer fraud, the charges start at a Class 5 felony and go up to a Class 3 felony.
Some people believe that they can get around convictions for computer crimes by destroying evidence, but what they don’t understand is that simply erasing the files on your computer doesn’t completely get rid of the history.