Computer fraud covers a variety of activity that is harmful to people. Computer fraud is using the computer in some way to commit dishonesty by obtaining an advantage or causing loss of something of value. This could take form in a number of ways, including program fraud, hacking, e-mail hoaxes, auction and retail sales schemes, investment schemes and people claiming to be experts on subject areas. Students who may be committing a computer fraud or being taken advantage of by a person committing computer fraud can easily be using school equipment when this takes place. That is why it is important for educators to have knowledge of this area of computer crime.
Students in any grade level can easily
be victims of computer fraud. Educating the students what to look for
to be able to trust the information that they are receiving over the
Internet is a useful skill for the students to learn. One issue of
computer fraud that educators and students will most likely encounter
would be obtaining false information while researching on the
Internet. Students must learn to be skeptical of information on the
Internet and learn the signs of good and bad websites. The students
should also be aware of other computer frauds such as hackers, health
frauds, hoaxes and other scams that people try to use on the Internet.
Each school should have in place an Acceptable Use Policy to protect
themselves against any student who tries to commit computer fraud
using school property.
Anyone who uses the Internet is a
potential candidate for being a victim of computer crime. Educating
students what to look for will help decrease the chances that they
will fall into the computer fraud victimization. The following
guidelines are set up by the Department of Justice to help computer
users in the section titled How
Should I Deal With Internet Fraud?:
There are many laws dealing with concentrated areas of computer fraud. There are two general laws that include fraud. Federal Criminal Code 18 U.S.C. 1029 is Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Access Devices. This code includes knowingly and with the intent to defraud computer users in a variety of ways. The punishment for this is a fine or imprisonment of between 10 and 20 years.
Another law that pertains to fraud is Federal Criminal Code 18 U.S.C. 1030 is Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Computers. This code relates to intentionally accessing computers without authorization or exceeding authorization access. The punishment for this is a fine and/or imprisonment of between 1 and 20 years.
Each of these laws are set up to protect Internet users so they are not freely giving information to others without some consequences if the other party uses the information to benefit themselves. Thought the laws are set up, Internet users should make sure they know what they are getting into before any information is given. Be skeptical of deals on the Internet and giving personal information. Also, check sources so these computer criminals are not taking advantage of the Internet user.
|Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)|
Should AUPs include computer fraud?
Definitely. Acceptable Computer Use Policies are in place usually put into place so that the school district is covered and the students know exactly what is acceptable and unacceptable at school. The better informed the students are of what is acceptable, the more reasonable most will be when using the computer equipment. Computer knowledgeable teacher observation of students use of computers will also greatly decrease the amount of computer fraud the students can do while at school.
How can students best protect themselves against being misinformed or harmed by fraudulent sites?
Students can best protect themselves by using critical thinking skills. By thinking and reasoning their way through each time they visit a website, join a chat room, or read e-mail, the students can gain an understanding of what is valid and what/who they should deter their attention. Educators as well as parents should teach students that the Internet is not a place where students should trust everything. Use good judgment and follow the guidelines above to minimize their potential for having fraudulent acts bestowed upon them.
|Annotated Web Site Directory|
Computer Crime and Intellectual
Cybercrime and Internet Issues Index
DMOZ Open Directory Project
Flim Flam dot Com
Identity Theft and Fraud
Internet Fraud: How to Avoid Internet
Internet Fraud Watch
Lies, Damned Lies, and the Internet
Protecting Yourself from Consumer Fraud
Self, Home, and Family: Preventing
2 August 2002
to Educator's Guide to Computer Crime and Technology Misuse
Developed 29 July 2002.