In this age of everchanging digital technology, computer crimes are keeping up with tech developments. One that has been around for many years is phishing. However, it has expanded past the computer over the years.
The following are the different types of phishing crimes as well as the legal consequences of committing them in Wisconsin.
Phishing and its derivatives
Phishing is a form of internet fraud that uses spamming techniques to draw in unsuspecting consumers. Phishers send out an email that resembles a trustworthy company and includes a link to a copycat website. The intent is to get the recipient to input personal information in the online form for purposes of identity theft and/or bank and credit card fraud. Vishing accomplishes the same thing but through phone calls, and smishing uses text messages.
Pharming takes this a step further in a more harmful and lasting way. It manipulates the computer to redirect users to fake websites instead of the legitimate ones they type into their web browsers. It is more dangerous because the modification stays on the computer.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, less than half the states in the U.S. have legislation specifically addressing phishing. Wisconsin is not one of them, and there is not currently a federal regulation on phishing that the state can refer to either. Rather, broader cybercrime laws encompass the actions behind phishing. Such fraudulent activity is a felony and may include computer restrictions and injunctions as part of the punishment. However, because phishing is not explicit in the law, it can affect the charges, prosecution and penalties for those who commit this white-collar crime.
Financial crimes are more complex and lengthy by nature. Therefore, it is imperative that those facing charges of phishing and/or other computer crimes seek legal representation immediately. A criminal defense attorney qualified in internet crime cases may be successful in lessening charges and penalties.