Theft online or in person has serious penalties

Unlike a generation ago, today’s parents of teenagers can feel just as comfortable navigating technology as their kids. They may be on the same social media platforms and may even spend more time on their phones and computers than their kids.

That said, some young people have an incredibly advanced handle on technology that they may use to engage in illegal activity. 

Theft charges

Before the internet, kids got in trouble for shoplifting or stealing money from a wallet.

Today, young people still get into trouble for theft, but their actions are more sophisticated thanks to the digital tools at their disposal. And there can be a lot more money on the line.

For instance, one 17-year-old was recently charged with stealing about $46 million. The individual utilized an attack involving SIM hijacking to gain access to and take over the target’s accounts. Through these efforts, the teen was able to steal millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

Same action, different situations

The truth is that stealing in any form can trigger criminal charges against a youthful offender. But when it comes to digital theft, these cases can be more complex and intimidating. 

Often, these offences can involve multiple law enforcement agencies, highly disruptive searches and several charges. For instance, someone accused of a crime like the one mentioned above could also face allegations of wire fraud, identity theft or unauthorized use of a computer.

These situations can be incredibly stressful and frightening. 

Protecting your child’s future

Children and teens make mistakes. And in the digital world, these mistakes can seem easier to conceal.

However, there are massive international, federal and provincial resources dedicated to investigating and pursuing charges against alleged cybercriminals. Thus, even when a young person feels confident that they are anonymous or impossible to track, the fact is that this confidence can be – and often is – inflated. 

As a parent, it can be enormously upsetting and frightening to learn that your child has engaged in unlawful activity online. However, you can protect them by taking the situation seriously, consulting a lawyer and helping your child defend against the claims.

Depending on factors like the nature of the allegations and a child’s age, there can be several approaches to resolving a youthful offence without it creating a permanent and destructive stain on the permanent record.


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