Cyberstalking is the act of “using the Internet to harass, threaten, or intimidate another person” according to Chuck Easttom (2012). The following provides a synopsis of five recent cases where people have been convicted of cyberstalking or Internet fraud. Each case is analyzed for its relevance in contemporary legal issues, as well as any laws that pertain to the case.
Cyberstalking Abuse and Fraud Cases
According to John de Leon (2013), on December 17th 2013, a Seattle police detective name David Blackmer pleaded guilty to charges of cyberstalking and domestic violence. Blackmer was having an affair with a woman he met on a dating website, but the relationship soured, and the woman went over to the detective’s home to tell his wife about the affair. When she did, Blackmer grabbed her by the throat and threw her to the ground. After she left, the detective created a fake Facebook account in the woman’s name and posted nude photos of her that had been taken during the affair. Due to the conviction of domestic violence, Blackmer will no longer be permitted to own a firearm, and will most likely lose the ability to work as a police officer. This case illustrates how Facebook is often used as a tool for revenge and malicious behavior.
In 1996 a woman named Jane Hitchcock became the target of a group that was scamming people by posing as literary agents. When she realized that the person she was communicating with was a fraud, Jane contacted the authorities to stop the group. In retaliation, the group began to slander Jane over the Internet, and posted her address and phone number in an attempt to cause her harm. Now Jane is the president of an organization that helps victims of online abuse. According to Davar Ardalan and Laura Krantz of NPR (2008), Jane states that, “a large number of the victims range in age between 18 and 30. Most are women, and the harassers are largely men.” This case demonstrates that there are resources available to victims of cyberstalking, and victims do not have to stand by and do nothing.
On April 7th of next year, a twenty-seven year old man of east European decent will be sentenced in New York on charges of wire fraud for his part in an organized scam that cheated people out of between $400,000 and one million dollars. According to Will Astor (2013), “Doban posted online advertisements for cars and directed buyers to send payments through bogus third-party websites with names such as eBay Motors and Google Wallet.” The money was then transferred out of the country. Doban now faces twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his part in the scam. The interesting aspect of this article is that although Doban admitted to his part in an Internet scam, he is not charged with an Internet crime – his charge is wire fraud. This case points out the need for vigilance when making financial transactions over the Internet.