Online Scam Defense Attorney in Houston: Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris & Montgomery Counties
You probably never thought you’d be criminally charged for online schemes, but times have changed. Phishing is a form of identity theft and can be prosecuted under a variety of federal, state and local laws. Defrauding a victim to acquire personal information can even send you to jail.
Houston Phishing Scams
Using email, instant messaging or other means of electronic communication to obtain personal information is illegal in Texas. Sending fraudulent email messages to victims through a seemingly official website for the purpose of stealing credit card information or other online scams is prohibited. The popularity of online scamming expeditions is currently on the rise, and law enforcement officials are scrambling to protect users from online fraud.
Attempting to steal personal or sensitive information by posing as a legitimate business or government agency has made it possible for Internet thieves to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. For all intents and purposes, websites that steal personal information appear to be perfectly legitimate. According to the Texas Penal Code, the fraudulent email message and website could be after any of the following types of valuable information:
- Date of birth
- Personal identification number (PIN)
- Credit card number
- Social security number
Online Fraudulent Crime Penalties
Although illegal online offenders regularly use stolen information to steal money or open fraudulent accounts, it is not necessary for an offender to actually use illegally obtained information to be charged with a crime in Houston. Merely attempting to steal personal information is sufficient grounds for being charged and convicted.
Depending on the nature of the crime and the criminal background of the defendant, email spoofs and other Internet scam violations can result in a misdemeanor or felony. A serious wire fraud conviction could land a defendant in prison for several years. A first time offender may be sentenced to probation or other alternative sentences. Finally, an offender could be required to pay restitution to their victims.
Online Scam Defense Lawyer in Texas
As with any criminal charge, the prosecution will be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to commit a crime. It is important to fully understand the laws pertaining to computer crimes. Moreover, the defendant’s legal rights must be protected and the evidence carefully examined. Let Greg Tsioros handle your case by calling (832) 752-5972.