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Computer and Internet Fraud | Wex | US Law

Overview

Fraud through the criminal use of a computer or the Internet can take many different forms. “Hacking” is a common form, in which a perpetrator uses technological tools to remotely access a protected computer or system. Another common form involves the interception of an electronic transmission unintended for the interceptor, such as passwords, credit card information, or other types of identity theft.

Statutory Definition

Computer fraud is defined in federal law in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) as the access of a protected computer without authorization or exceeding authorization. The plain text of the statute appears to limit which computers are protected by the law:

(2) the term “protected computer” means a computer—
(A) …
(B) which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign

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