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3 Online Crimes That Can Land You in Prison

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. | Last updated on

The web can feel like a world that is separate from real life, but electronic activity can have serious consequences, like landing you in jail or prison. You may rely on anonymity and hide behind avatars and accounts unassociated with you, but things you do online can be traced back to you and charged as a crime. If you're convicted, your cell will be hell -- very real, very small, very crowded and smelly -- and you'll have limited access to the web. So, here are three crimes not to commit online.

Don't Do These Things

People all have different interests and proclivities. Some of us are excited by things that society says we should not be, and those interests can and do get people in a lot of trouble. No matter how passive you think an activity is, be very careful when you engage online as you may be committing a crime.

  1. Downloading Child Porn: If you think sex offenders are just weirdo people who live under bridges and threaten your kids, you are wrong. The sex offender registries across the country are full of names of people who did something that seemed harmless or passive. Downloading child pornography will get you arrested and charged with a felony, even if you are a young female victim of abuse who was misused as a child and that's how you became interested. Do not run the risk of looking at kiddy porn online, whoever you are. It is not considered harmless.
  2. Cyber Stalking: You've been ghosted so now you're stalking that special someone who disappeared from your cyber life. You taunt them on Facebook and tweet at them day and night and you've made it so they no longer want to go online. Guess what? If they call the cops and it's proven that you are stalking a person electronically, and threatening them, you can end up with a sentence that will keep you incarcerated and offline for some time.
  3. Fraud or Theft: You figure you can get some idiot across the country or the world to pay you if you pretend to have something to sell, get the money, and get away electronically, and you probably can. But scamming people online is not a guarantee that you won't get caught for your crime. Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies use the web to find crime. If you are on Craigslist, they are too. They are watching what we do and they do have tools to track online activity that is suspicious.


If you have been charged with a crime, don't delay to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.

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