You have no idea how vulnerable you are when you are using technology or you are going online. We’re not talking about being the victim of a crime either. We’re referring to the possibility that you could unintentionally commit a crime online. Or, using a tech device that you may own. In fact, there are certain crimes that are so random; you might have already committed them. These are quite new, with acts brought in recently to bring perpetrators to justice.
You might think that identity fraud refers to people who steal other people’s identity to take their money. Or, damage their finances. Not so, identity fraud can refer to numerous actions online. For instance, even using a fake name online is commonly classed as fraud. How many people do you think use their real names when speaking on forums? On when writing comments on articles. Of course, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be prosecuted for this crime unless you write something hateful online. At which point, it’s a very real possibility. In other instances, people have used other’s photos to create fake profiles. You’ll commonly find dating sites do this to make their service look more popular than it is. Although this is a case of identity theft and one of the many white collar crimes, it’s incredibly difficult to prove. Most police forces simply won’t bother.
This is a crime that you might well find yourself being charged with. Usually, it begins with a cease and desist from the Federal Agency. Typically, that’s going to be in the form of an automatic email. It may be scary, but there’s nothing to worry about if you’ve viewed a film online and receive one of these. The authorities have simply attached software to a planted file. They then send out warnings to those who access the file. At no point has your case been considered or an arrest warrant been written. In fact, it is again, unlikely, that you will be charged with this crime. It’s far more likely that anyone sharing files will be targeted. At that point, you might well find yourself in need of a good attorney to get you out of a sticky situation. In the UK the maximum prison sentence for copyright is ten years. Thankfully, this sentence has not been used on anyone.
Be very careful about joking around about this even with friends. You might have taken a snap that’s embarrassing to one of your friends on Facebook during a night out. It might be tempting to threaten, jokingly to publish it online. However, a conversation with the friend about this possibility could be seen as blackmail. Weirdly, publishing the photo is not an offense. This is because the taker of the photograph legally owns the copyright. Therefore, they can do whatever they like with it. Although, recently, sexual images have been made exempt from this rule to avoid cases of “revenge porn.”
You may have never committed any of these crimes online. But you always have to be careful. Remember, the internet is not as anonymous as many believe. Usually, someone is watching.