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Are phishing and fraud the same thing?

Charges related to alleged Internet crimes can be confusing for the uninitiated. For many, it seems like some of the individual charges are actually one and the same. As with any criminal charge, it is important to learn exactly what the allegations against you really are before entering into any legal proceeding.

As to the question at hand, the short answer is yes despite the differences between typical fraud and e-mail phishing. Having said that, it is important to note that phishing is a type of fraud, but there are specifics involved that essentially places phishing into a unique realm of its own. The best way of effectively answering the question is to explain what fraud is, what phishing is and what the two entail.

Phishing: A term for "fishing for confidential information," phishing is an attempt to gain unlawful access to confidential data. Usually, the target is passwords and other account information for control over or access to financial accounts. Phishing typically occurs via e-mails that strongly resemble legitimate communications. These fake e-mails frequently request passwords or other information related to the victim's account or accounts.

Fraud: Fraud occurs across many different mediums and covers a wide array of offenses such as identity theft, credit card fraud, mail fraud and many others. The law loosely defines fraud as deceiving an entity or individual for financial gain.

If you or someone you know is facing any kind of Internet crime charges in the Milwaukee area or elsewhere, it is important to understand that the law takes an aggressive stance against such offenses. If convicted, defendants could be subject to costly fines and/or lengthy jail sentences.

Source: FindLaw, "Fraud" accessed Feb. 25, 2015

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