Identity protection is a major area of concern for many people these days. Vital information like passwords, credit card numbers and banking information are routine targets for identity thieves. One of the most common methods used by identity thieves is known as “phishing.” Phishing is an Internet crime that involves sending emails, instant messages or other forms of communication that request private information from the recipients. These messages are usually cleverly disguised to appear as if they have been sent from a banking institution, credit agency, Internet retailer or some other entity. Without a close inspection, these messages seem to be legitimate, and many people are misled into revealing important personal information.
Penalties for Phishing Convictions
As with all forms of attempted identity theft, phishing is often punished to the fullest extent of the law. Both state and federal laws are used to prosecute people accused of phishing. Although not every state has a specific phishing law in place, states like Texas have laws against computer crimes that can be used to prosecute phishing. Punishments can include:
- Prison: The length of the prison sentence varies depending on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s previous criminal record, if any.
- Fines: Whether a prison sentence is passed down or not, heavy fines will be ordered if a guilty verdict is handed down.
- Restitution: These fines are assessed in an effort to compensate any people who may have lost money in a phishing scheme. This is different from the punitive fines that serve the purpose of punishing the alleged guilty party.
- Probation or community supervision: The length of a probationary period handed down in a phishing case may vary, but is generally one year or more in length. Those who are on probation must make regular reports to their probation officer, pay monthly fees, keep a steady job and may be restricted from certain prohibited activities.
Meet With a Houston Phishing Charges Attorney
A good defense against phishing charges must begin with the knowledge and expertise of a qualified phishing attorney. An attorney who has experience with phishing cases will know the state laws pertaining to the case and will be able to create a sound defense. If the prosecution cannot establish a link between the defendant and any evidence that they have gathered, a conviction will be very difficult to secure. The best strategy in this case, as with most legal matters, is thorough preparation. Tl learn more about the crime of phishing, get in touch with Houston attorney James Alston.
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