Laws Governing Internet Fraud

Victims of Internet frauds should immediately report the incident to credit card fraud and the police because more often than not, if the problem has been reported in the soonest possible time, quick steps will be taken to solve the problem. The victim may be reimbursed for his or her losses, or he or she may not be even held responsible for the loss. Some companies have a policy that a victim can only be held responsible for credit card fraud for the amount of $50 if he or she reported the card as lost.

If the card is not lost but loss occurs because the credit card number was used, the customer will acquire no liability for its unauthorized access. Reporting this type of fraud can also help the authorities capture the perpetrators and stop them from victimizing others (Articles, n. d. ). In New Zealand, an Internet banking code that narrows the scope of customer’s liability for Internet fraud was made effective on June 30, 2008.

It contains a “guiding principle” which provides that the banks will reimburse their customers who are genuine victims of the online fraud (The Dominion Post, 2008, n. p. ). The banks may require customers to take the reasonable steps necessary to update their computer security. They may hold a customer liable for the fraud losses if they access computers which they know are not protected or secure enough. The code provides that security software programs should be installed on the computers (The Dominion Post, 2008).

This type of legislation should also be adopted in the United States due to the vastness of the Internet fraud situations. If a person received suspicious emails, he or she should report it to the FBI or contact the local police and ask for their fraud department. Victims can also file their complaint through the Internet Fraud and Complaint Center (IC3) or the Internet Fraud Initiative. The Internet Fraud Initiative started in 1999, and it functions to generate new approaches in defeating Internet fraud.

The IC3 on the other hand receives complaints online through their own web site and analyzes them in order to detect the type of scheme that these internet scammers do (United States Department of Justice, n. d. ). Due to the increasingly high rate of Internet Crimes, the authorities have become aware of the need to impose more penalties for the Internet fraud perpetrators. Former President Bush signed the “Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act” in 2004 because the government believes that harsher punishments must be given to those convicted as identity theft criminals.

The new law provides that those convicted will undergo a five-year prison term if caught using fake ID’s to help terrorists, and providing fake ID’s for unrelated terrorist crime would be equal to a prison term of two years (Montaldo, 2009). Meanwhile, penalties for software piracy may be both civil and criminal. Criminal liability may be tantamount to a fine not exceeding $250,000 or maximum imprisonment of 5 years or both (Kyros, n. d. ). The Protection of Children From Sexual Predators Act of 1998 safeguards children from child pornography especially if it was produced or transported via the Internet.

If convicted, the accused may be sentenced to life imprisonment if the victim is less than 14 years old and dies as a result of the offense. The court may impose a lesser sentence depending on the circumstances of each case (Hatch, 1998). In cases of credit card fraud, Section 1029, Title 18 of the US Code provides that those who are guilty of credit card fraud maybe held liable to pay a fine or be imprisoned for ten to twenty years depending on the provision of the law violated. For second time offenders, the maximum sentence of twenty years shall be imposed (Free Advise, 2009).