Internet Crime - An Overview

The Internet has changed everyday life in ways too numerous to count. Instantaneous communication with people all over the world has become commonplace. The new technology has also created new legal issues, particularly in the area of criminal law. If you are facing charges of Internet crimes, including possession of child pornography and soliciting sex from a minor, contact an attorney for help.

Child Pornography

The anonymity of the Internet has allowed persons who commit certain offenses against children to operate in relative safety. Child pornography is sold and distributed with ease over the Internet. In addition, adults who prey on children often befriend children they meet online and arrange meetings with them for sexual purposes. The children who agree to meet an online "friend" typically do so without knowing that the person on the other end is an adult pretending to be a child.

Law enforcement agencies, on both the state and federal levels, have made the investigation of Internet crimes against children one of their top priorities. Local police and federal agencies like the FBI are applying new techniques to detect crimes against children. One of these techniques is the so-called "sting" operation, in which law enforcement officers pose as people interested in buying or swapping child pornography. The information gained in the transaction is used to find and prosecute both the sellers and buyers and people who are in possession of the pornographic materials.

Criminal penalties for child pornography are often severe. Sometimes jail and prison sentences are mandatory, along with lifetime registration as a sexual offender. Defenses are available to individuals who download or share images that turn out to be child pornography. If you have been charged or are about to be charged, call an attorney for legal help right away.

Solicitation of Minors

Law enforcement officers frequently pretend to be underage individuals in Internet chat rooms even adults-only, sexually oriented Web sites. Some of these police officers are expert at identifying people who are lonely or unaware to get them "to solicit or entice" some kind of meeting or sexual activity. Suddenly, they are facing a felony charge, prison time and lifetime registration as a sexual predator.

These cases can be brought against people who did not intend to engage in sexual activity with an underage person; they thought they were just fantasizing anonymously on the Internet. If a friend or family member is facing these charges, contact a lawyer who is tough, computer literate and sophisticated.

Internet Fraud

The Internet is also used to commit fraud. New types of fraudulent schemes are increasingly common, including:

  • Nigerian 419 scams: asking for bank account information and cash payments to move a large amount of money out of the country
  • Phishing: impersonating a legitimate business or governmental agency in order to obtain bank account or credit card information
  • Identity theft: using or selling a person's Social Security number, bank account numbers and credit card numbers

Tracking down and prosecuting the party who allegedly engaged in online fraud can be difficult. Prosecution is also complicated by the reluctance of many victims to come forward and report the crime due to their embarrassment.


As the Internet continues to develop, new legal issues will also develop. New types of crime, and new theories for criminal prosecution, will be implemented to meet the continually evolving state of the online world. Internet crime is undergoing constant change. If you are charged with an Internet crime, seek legal advice from an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area of the law.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.