Cyber Crime Law in India | IT Act 2000 [Hindi]
How to Take Legal Action Against Cyber Threats
If someone threatens to harm you over the internet, it's called a cyber threat, but cyber threats really are no different from a threat communicated any other way. A threat that makes you fear for your life or your personal safety is a crime, regardless of how it's communicated to you. When someone threatens your safety or the safety of your friends or family members online, your first goal should be to protect yourself and your loved ones. This means taking legal action against the cyber threats, including filing police reports or getting a restraining order if the person is local and poses a direct threat to your safety.
Filing a Complaint with the FBI
Gather information.You need as much information as you can pull together about the perpetrator and the crime before you begin the FBI's online complaint process. The more information you provide, the more likely the FBI will be to resolve the situation and bring the person to justice.
- If you have documents or screen-captures of the threats, you typically can attach them to your complaint as digital files.
- Providing as many facts and details as possible allows investigators to best process your complaint and get the correct agencies involved to protect you and apprehend the person who is threatening you.
Visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).The IC3 is a database run by the FBI that collects and analyzes information about internet crime, then disseminates that information to state and local law enforcement agencies.
- The IC3 program is specifically designed to combat crimes that were committed over the internet, making it the perfect vehicle for you if you are the victim of cyber threats.
- IC3 staff evaluate information in complaints filed to determine whether the incident falls under federal or state jurisdiction. Then your complaint is forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
- As you're entering your information, keep in mind that you're doing so under penalty of perjury. False or incorrect information could lead to fines or imprisonment, so if you don't know something, simply leave it blank – don't try to guess.
- Make sure you include as much information as possible about the person threatening you. It may be that you aren't the only one they've threatened, or that they've committed crimes in the past. Identifying information can help law enforcement track them down and even link them to other crimes.
- Include your own name, address, phone number, and email address so law enforcement officers or prosecutors can contact you if they need additional information or want to update you on the status of any investigation.
- Provide as many specific details as possible, including the dates and times the threats were made, the context of the threats, and the exact words the person used. Explain why you believe the threats to be credible.
Submit your complaint.Once you've reviewed the information you supplied in the complaint and are satisfied it is complete and accurate, you can click the button to submit it to the IC3 for evaluation.
- After you've submitted your complaint, you will have the opportunity to print a copy of it for your records. The information in your complaint also can be used if you plan to file other reports, such as a report with your local law enforcement agency, or if you intend to request a restraining order from the courts.
- IC3 will send you a confirmation email to let you know your complaint has been received. This email includes a username and password you can use to check the status of your complaint or add information.
Follow up with your complaint.After you've submitted your complaint, you'll receive a confirmation email that includes a username and password you can use to check the status of your complaint at any time.
Reporting to Local Law Enforcement
Gather documents and evidence.The police will need copies of anything you may have that could provide evidence of the crime. You may want to check your state's law so you understand the elements of the crime and what must be proven.
- One crime associated with cyber threats is assault. An assault occurs when someone intentionally attempts to inflict immediate injury to someone else, and they suffer physical or mental harm as a result. While physical injury isn't required, an immediate threat of violence is.
- However, keep in mind that words alone typically aren't considered assault. The cyber threats must be coupled with other acts or circumstances that lead to a legitimate fear of immediate injury.
- Since the situation involves someone's written words, freedom of speech under the First Amendment comes into play. This means that words have greater protection than physical acts. However, criminal threats generally are not protected by the First Amendment.
- The key is to present not only evidence of the threats the person made, but also other information that shows your legitimate fear that the person will carry out their threats and cause you physical harm.
Visit your local police station.Unless you are concerned for your immediate safety (in which case you should call 911), take a trip to the police station and file your report in person. This gives you an opportunity to speak directly to officers.
- Bring with you any and all evidence you have of the threats as well as the legitimacy of these threats and the fears you have that the person will follow through with these threats.
- You also want to bring copies of any other reports you've filed, such as if you've filed a report with the FBI.
- If you have friends or family members who are familiar with the situation, you may want to bring them along to lend support to your statements.
Speak to an officer.Typically, an officer will sit down with you to talk about the crime and compile a report based on the information you provide. The officer will ask you questions and may want to retain copies of any documents you've brought with you.
- If you want the police to do anything about the threats, you must convince the officer with whom you speak that these threats present a real and credible threat of imminent violence and harm to you or your loved ones.
- To this end, you also should tell the officer if you have any history with the person threatening you. The police typically will be more likely to take the situation seriously if the person knows you, knows where you live, and has threatened or harmed you before.
- When the officer completes a written report, make sure you get a copy of it before you leave the police station.
- The written report will include information on how you can contact the police department if something else happens or if you want to check the status of your report.
Consider getting an emergency restraining order.If you feel you are in imminent danger, you may be able to get an emergency restraining order, which is issued at the police department and protects you until you are able to file a petition for a permanent restraining order through the courts.
- Police departments issue emergency restraining orders when courts are not in session and you don't have the ability to request a civil restraining order.
- If the person has threatened immediate harm to you or a loved one, or if you're afraid of what they might do if they discover you've filed a police report, ask the officer if an emergency restraining order is available.
- This order will keep the person from contacting you or coming near you or places you frequent such as your home, school, or workplace.
- An emergency restraining order typically is only in effect for a day or two at most. If you filed your police report at the beginning of a weekend or before a holiday, it may last longer.
Follow up on your report.An officer may contact you for further information as the department investigates the situation. However, if several weeks go by and you don't hear anything, you may want to call and find out if anything has happened in your case.
- Keep in mind that even if the person is arrested, he or she may never be charged with a crime. Prosecutors typically only file charges when they believe they can get a conviction.
- You may want to contact the district attorney's office, especially if the person has been arrested, to find out if there's anything you can do to assist the prosecution.
Petitioning for a Restraining Order
Review your state's law.Each state has different types of restraining orders available, typically depending on your relationship to the person you want restrained. Different types of orders may require different evidence, so it's important to know which type you need before you proceed.
- Domestic violence restraining orders typically are available in situations where the person threatening you is a family member, or someone with whom you were romantically involved.
- In contrast, civil restraining orders protect you from someone with whom you have no pre-existing romantic or familial relationship or involvement.
- Keep in mind a criminal restraining order is different from a civil restraining order. You can't ask a judge for a criminal restraining order. Rather, it is issued during the course of a criminal proceeding and can't be renewed once it expires.
Choose the correct court.In most states, restraining order petitions are handled by different state courts depending on your relationship to the person you want restrained. Domestic violence restraining orders typically are handled by family law courts.
- The clerk of court typically has a packet of forms that you must fill out to get a restraining order against the person threatening you.
- The specific paperwork you'll need to request a restraining order varies among individual courts, so you must make sure you've selected the correct court that handles the type of restraining order you want to request.
- You also may be able to get the paperwork you need at a local women's shelter or other non-profit organization. However, keep in mind they may only have forms specific to domestic violence, which may not apply to your situation.
Fill out your forms.Once you get the forms you need, you must fill them out completely and accurately so the judge has the information necessary to issue your restraining order. If there is information you don't know, you should leave it blank rather than guessing.
- The forms typically require personal information such as your name and address, as well as the name and address of the person you want the court to restrain.
- Keep in mind that if you don't have an accurate name and address for the person, you won't be able to have them served and your order will not be made permanent.
- You also must provide information regarding the threats the person has made against you and why you want the court to restrain them.
- Some forms must be signed in the presence of a notary. Typically you can tell because the form will be labeled an "affidavit" and will have space for a notary's seal and signature.
- After you've signed all of your forms, you will need to make at least two copies – one for your records and one to have delivered to the person you want restrained.
- Some courts require additional copies. This information should be included in your packet of forms, but you may want to call the clerk's office if you're not sure.
File your forms with the clerk.Take your original forms and copies to the clerk of the court you want to issue your restraining order. In some courts you will see a judge when you file your papers, so go prepared to appear in court.
- In most states, you don't have to pay a filing fee to file a petition for a restraining order.
- The clerk will file your petition, schedule a hearing, and issue a temporary restraining order. This will keep the person away from you until the scheduled hearing.
- In some states you must talk to a judge before a temporary restraining order is issued. The judge will ask you questions about your petition and the threats the person has made.
- You must have the petition and temporary restraining order served on the person you want restrained. If you want the order to be made permanent, the person must have notice of the proceeding and an opportunity to contest the order.
- Typically you can have the paperwork delivered to the person by a sheriff's deputy. Usually there is a small fee for this service, although in some jurisdictions the sheriff's department waives process serving fees for restraining orders.
Attend your hearing.If you want your temporary restraining order to be made permanent, you must attend a hearing in front of a judge along with the person you want the judge to restrain. Your temporary restraining order typically expires on the date of this hearing unless the judge makes it permanent.
- In court, you can present to the judge any evidence you have of the threats the person has made. You also should bring copies of the police report, if you have one.
- The person you're asking the court to restrain may appear in court as well, since they received notice of the hearing and have the right to defend themselves. If you're concerned for your safety, consider taking friends or family members with you.
- If the person you want the court to restrain fails to appear at the hearing, the judge typically will make your order permanent provided you can prove that the person was properly served and had sufficient legal notice and knowledge of the hearing.
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