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SCARS|RSN™ Special Report: Being An Internet Troll Can Send You To Jail!

HARASSMENT ONLINE IS A CRIME

In The United States Being An Online Hater, Troll Or Bully Is A Violation Of U.S. Federal Law.

It is important to understand this as many people believe they can get away with anything online and especially on Facebook.

Updated March 2, 2019

Being An Internet Troll Can Send You To Jail!

Under United States Law – Title 18 U.S. Code § 2261A states:

Whoever—
(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or is present within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel or presence engages in conduct that—

(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to—

(i) that person;
(ii) an immediate family member (as defined in section 115) of that person; or
(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person; or

(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A); or

(2) with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, uses the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that—

(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of or serious bodily injury to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A); or
(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A),
shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of this title.

This Also Applies To Scammers!

If you are one of the many victims who has been intimidated or blackmailed by a Scammer, you can also contact your local FBI office and tell them you want to file a criminal charge under Title 18 U.S. Code § 2261A. You will get more attention than if you try to complain about a scam alone.

PENALTIES UNDER 18 U.S. Code § 2261

(b)Penalties.—A person who violates this section or section 2261A shall be fined under this title, imprisoned—

(1) for life or any term of years, if death of the victim results;
(2) for not more than 20 years if permanent disfigurement or life threatening bodily injury to the victim results;
(3) for not more than 10 years, if serious bodily injury to the victim results or if the offender uses a dangerous weapon during the offense;
(4) as provided for the applicable conduct under chapter 109A if the offense would constitute an offense under chapter 109A (without regard to whether the offense was committed in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison); and
(5) for not more than 5 years, in any other case,
or both fined and imprisoned.

In addition, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and many other countries have similar laws.

So What Is The Final Result?

Engage in a willful campaign of harassment online and you can go to jail for a minimum of 5 years.

RSN partners with the United States Department of Justice on various initiatives including on victim’s assistance and support, and will always take appropriate legal steps to combat scams and online fraud, online harassment and cyberbullying, and other unlawful behavior online.