Legal Dictionary

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Computer Fraud

Computer fraud is fraudulent activity accomplished through a computer, especially when it is carried out over the Internet. There are a variety of different computer fraud schemes:

  • Identity Theft and Fraud – Identity theft is committed when someone else's personal information is fraudulently obtained and used by another for illegal purposes. Examples of computer identity theft and fraud include:
    • Spoofing – sending an email that appears to be from a legitimate company or website, but the link sends the victim to a fraudulent site
    • Phishing– Attempting to get a victim, through spoof emails to reveal personal information such as credit card numbers, passwords, bank account, and Social Security numbers
    • Credit Card and Bank Account Fraud – Using someone else's credit card or debit card is used for unauthorized purchases
    • Hacking – Exploiting an online computer system or gaining unauthorized access to a website through skill and unlawful tactics
  • Internet Auction Fraud or Non-Delivery of Merchandise – Using an Internet auction site like eBay to sell an item online but not delivering the item when sold
  • Internet Investment Fraud – Enticing people to invest in a fictitious company, for example, an online Ponzi or Pyramid scheme.
  • Communications Fraud – Using Internet services such as wireless, satellite, or landline services without payment, or sharing copyrighted property such as movies and music without authorization through peer-to-peer software.