In the 21st century, almost everything is accomplished electronically. It should come as no surprise then to know that a new breed of criminal has also emerged in recent years – the cyber criminal. Put simply, cyber crimes are criminal offenses that include a computer or that use a computer network to facilitate the crime. If you use your computer regularly, you should be aware that cyber crimes occur on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter so that you can protect yourself from becoming a victim or unintentionally becoming a perpetrator.
The term “cyber crime” encompasses a wide variety of offenses. The list becomes a bit more narrow, however, when discussing cyber crimes that occur on social media. Some examples of cyber crimes that frequently occur on sites such as Facebook and Twitter include:
· Stalking – stalking was once accomplished predominantly by physically pursuing a victim, lying in wait for the victim where he/she lived or worked, and contacting the victim in writing or via telephone. Today, stalking often occurs over the internet, specifically through social media sites that lack both monitoring and adequate privacy controls.
· Hacking – a moderately competent computer hacker can gain access to your social media accounts and begin posting things on your behalf that may be offensive or unkind.
· Fraud – “Granny Scammers” are a perfect example of how con artists work in the new digital age. These scammers troll social media sites looking for older users who might be vulnerable to a scam. They are then able to gather enough information off the victim’s “page” to contact the individual posing as a grandchild or other loved one who is in need of immediate cash for some emergency.
· Identity theft — identity thieves take things one step further by using the personal information they glean off a social media website to actually take over the victim’s identity. From there, the thief can apply for credit, take out a loan, or otherwise cause both financial and personal problems for the victim
Because cyber crimes were virtually unheard of just a decade or so ago, legislators, law enforcement, and the owners of social media sites are scrambling to try and control the problem and protect users of social media. If you spend a good deal of your time on social media websites, vigilance is the key to protecting your privacy and your personal information. You also need to be very careful that your actions while using a social media website do not amount to a violation of the law.
If you have been charged with a cyber crime in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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