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Think you're anonymous online? Think again

For most people, there is a significant difference between lying to someone's face and telling a lie in an email or text. It can be much easier to be dishonest when you don't have to look someone in the eye or engage in any sort of personal contact.

The same may be said about committing a crime. There are many people who would never reach their hand into someone's purse and steal money or pretend to be someone else in front of others. But when these same people are behind a computer screen and a cryptic screen name, it can be much easier to engage in deceitful behaviors.

This is why it can be relatively easy to get caught up in Internet crime. Some people are able to justify unlawful or fraudulent actions online because they can't see their victims; they also may think that they can get away with it because they don't think they'll get caught.

However, Internet crime involving identify theft, phishing, hacking or fraud is not victimless and authorities are very aggressive when it comes to pursuing charges for cyber crimes. In fact, state and federal law enforcement agencies have extensive and sophisticated resources at their disposal to investigate claims involving illegal activity and the Internet. Even if a person uses a public computer, fake name and encryption in their illegal exchanges online, there are still ways that authorities can identify the user.

Whether a criminal act involves hacking into an ex's computer to view or share his or her personal information or sending out fake emails to defraud strangers, the fact is that criminal activity online is still criminal activity. Anyone accused of these types of offenses can be facing serious charges, including felonies that can come with the threat of extensive jail time.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking they can't get caught or that the actions in which they engaged are not "that bad;" however, they can and they are. If you are being investigated for a computer-related crime or have already been charged, a defense attorney familiar with this area of law can prove to be a valuable asset and important ally.

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