Virginia Computer Crimes Act

In this day and age we keep out entire lives on a computer. Our phones store our personal contact information, bank account information, social media accounts, and for most people so much more. When a person physically injures you there is an obvious legal action that can be taken. When someone physically steals from you there is also an obvious legal action that can be taken. But what about if someone hacks your computer accounts? What if someone hacks your account and posts messages as you? Or if they change your passwords and lock you out of your accounts. What if that account you are locked out of is your car insurance account and you have gone to paperless billing, or if it is your online bank account?

In this digital age we need to be aware of how the laws have keep to date with society. Virginia has a number of crimes related to computer violations under its Computer Crimes Act. That act also includes in it a statute which enables a person injured by the violation of one of those computer crimes to be able to also seek a civil remedy.

How devastating would it be to pick up your phone and realize that someone had created or changed the login to the phone and you are no longer able to us it? How many work emails may you have missed? How about access to your financial apps? Under that Virginia statute you could have a claim against the person who altered it.

If a person alters your password to login to any account, including your phone that would carry with it the possibility to seek civil damages. This is even true if they acted without any malicious intent. So what they may consider to be a prank or joke, can open them up to civil liability for changing your login information.

The extent of damages that you can seek will be limited to any actual damages you sustained including loss of profits as well as the cost of the suit. If you need to spend money to regain access to your accounts, that money could be recovered in civil action. If someone deletes information from your computer or computer network that causes you to have to spend money you otherwise would not spend, you could recover that money in civil action. If you are a business owner and someone sends you a virus that knocks your computer or computer system down you could recover the loss of profits and damages in a civil action. Those are some out of countless other scenarios where you might be able to get damages for a computer crime.

We keep our lives on phones and other computer devices. If someone does something to that device you may have rights and can pursue legal action.  If you think you have a claim, or you have questions, please contact us at 804-423-1382 or email us at to set up an initial consultation with one of our attorneys.