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Online Impersonation

Attorney Greg Tsioros

Online Impersonation

Online Manipulation Defense Lawyer in Houston: Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris & Montgomery Counties

Social media profiles, blogs and personal websites are ubiquitous these days. People often share an enormous amount of personal information through these channels. It has become increasingly common for people to be victimized through these networks.

What Constitutes Online Fraud?

Impersonating someone online has become a serious criminal offense in recent years. In 2009, Texas passed a law making it illegal to create a social media profile in another person’s name or to login without consent to a profile in order to harm, defraud or intimidate another person. In some cases, this kind of Internet impersonation can be prosecuted as a felony offense.

Penalties for Being an Online Imposter

The new laws criminalizing the act of impersonating someone online are similar to established laws that target identity theft. These laws specifically focus on Internet users who are pretending to be someone else with the intention of harming or harassing their victim. According to the Texas Penal Code, some of the criminalized activities include:

  • Sending an email in the name of another person without consent
  • Creating a website or profile in another person’s name without consent
  • Posting one or more messages online in another person’s name without consent

If a person engages in any of the above activities with the intent of harming others online, they may be prosecuted. Creating a profile in another person’s name is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison. Sending an email while pretending to be someone else is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in county jail.

Legal Defenses for Online Impersonation

Because not all states have passed laws criminalizing this kind of impersonation, defense attorneys may challenge charges if the defendant lives in a state without these laws. For example, if a person living in a state lacking this law creates a profile targeting someone in Houston, Texas, the defense attorney may argue that the case is out of jurisdiction.

It is also possible for the defense to argue that there is no evidence that the alleged victim did not provide consent. Because consent is sometimes given verbally, the defense may argue that a lack of consent is not provable.

Internet Harm Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of online manipulation in Houston, then your life is about to become very difficult. There are many challenges in the U.S. legal system. In order to fight the system, you will need qualified legal representation. Get a hold of Greg Tsioros today by calling (832) 752-5972.