The widespread use of the Internet for conducting business, banking and consumer transactions
has been accompanied by an increase in activity by dishonest individuals looking to steal
private and sensitive information. An email scam incorporates the use of fraudulent
emails to lure an unsuspecting recipient into giving the sender sensitive,
confidential information that the scammer can use to commit
The typical email scam sends mass emails that appear to be from a well-known bank, a government agency or a known commercial entity such as eBay.
The fraudulent email alerts the recipient of a serious problem with the person’s account and solicits help to investigate and resolve the issue.
Once the victim gives up this information, the sender uses it to commit various forms of identity theft. This might include stealing credit card information to make unauthorized purchases or the information could be used to access bank accounts.
Stealing usernames and other personal information is usually prosecuted and punished as an
identity theft crime at the misdemeanor or felony level. Texas, for example, increases the
severity of the charge and the penalties imposed by a judge depending upon the extent
of the identifying information stolen from the victim and, where the information is
used to steal money or property, the value of what was taken.
Criminal charges related to a credit card scam or email scam usually require intentional conduct
on the part of the accused in Houston. Using personal information with the consent of the owner
of the information or not realizing the true nature of the identifying information might be
defenses in a criminal prosecution.
Identity theft is a serious crime, but the laws can be complex. A criminal defense attorney is a good resource for answers to questions and concerns a person might have when charged in connection with a phishing scam.