The world of identity theft is diverse and vast, encompassing a range of activities that all have the power to lead offenders to a number of unpleasant consequences. A conviction on charges of identity theft crimes can result in community service, prison time, hefty fines, and overall damage to one’s reputation. A majority of these crimes start with the invasion of privacy via the internet and through tampering with personal mobile devices, posing great risks for anyone who is involved with such activity merely by association.
Sources of Temptation for Identity Theft
Sometimes, all it takes to place yourself at risk for potential identity theft charges is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in the case of online security, tampering with the wrong device or with someone’s personal information via the internet. Accessing sensitive personal information by meddling with of any of the following modes of online data is considered a federal crime and can mean serious repercussions:
- Discarded devices: When some individuals dispose of personal devices, such as old laptops or mobile phones, they do not always properly wipe the hard drive, leaving any personal information still stored on the drive easily accessible for tampering. Whether you accidentally stumble upon access to someone’s information through acquiring a previously owned device or you simply meddle out of curiosity, it is important to be aware that handling anyone else’s personal information online without their knowledge may be treated as a criminal offense;
- P2P networks: Peer-to-peer, or P2P, file-sharing networks are extremely popular for sharing games, music, and movies, but they are also commonly targeted by identity thieves for obtaining personal financial information. Users sometimes believe that by closing the file-sharing program window, they have closed their connection to the network which is not the case. Do not make the mistake of exploring someone’s files or distributing pirated or copyrighted material via a P2P network, or you could be looking at criminal charges;
- Email accounts: If you use email as a method to deceptively acquire someone’s personal information under any circumstances, you are engaging in federal criminal activity. Among the many ways email scams are used to commit identity theft, “phishing” messages are especially prevalent. Phishing involves impersonating a legitimate medium for requesting sensitive personal information. Other examples of email-related identity theft activity include hacking accounts, as well as dating and tech support scams.
As our technology capabilities continue to evolve and improve over time, new identity theft tactics will emerge, increasing the number of hazards for internet users worldwide. If you or someone you know has been accused of being involved in an identity theft act of any kind, it is imperative to speak with a skilled Wheaton criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and reputation. Call 630-933-8400 today for a free, confidential consultation.