What is computer or internet fraud?

The perpetration of a fraud through the use of the computer or the internet can take many different forms. One common form includes “hacking,” in which the criminal uses sophisticated technological tools to remotely access a secure computer or internet location. A second common criminal activity involves illegally intercepting an electronic transmission not intended for the interceptor. This may result in the theft of one’s password, credit card information, or identity.

Federal statute defines computer fraud as the use of a computer to create a dishonest misrepresentation of fact as an attempt to induce another to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss. Criminals create fraudulent misrepresentation in a number of ways. First, they can alter computer input in an unauthorized way. Employees can easily use this method to alter input data and embezzle the difference. Second, criminals can alter or delete stored data. Third, sophisticated criminals can rewrite software codes and upload them into a bank’s mainframe so that the bank will provide its users’ identities to the thieves. The thieves can then use this information to make unauthorized credit card purchases.

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