“Plagiarism is any conduct in academic work or programs involving misrepresentation of someone else’s words, ideas or data as one’s original work, including, but not limited to, the following:
From College of the Desert's What are the rights & responsibilities of students point 13b.
Paraphrasing is when you take someone else's words or ideas without giving them credit for it. This is plagiarism because even though you might not be directly quoting somebody, you are taking their intellectual property.
Believe it or not, students get caught for this all the time. Why? Because each individual has a unique voice when they write and when you take somebody else's expertise and thought process, your writing voice changes - and that is something your professor definitely would notice. For example, if you walked into class one day and started speaking in a heavy French accent - your professor would notice.
You can face serious disciplinary consequences for paraphrasing (see the Possible Student Disciplinary Sanctions on this page). How do you avoid it? Just give the author credit!
LACC expects students to be honest and ethical at all times. Be advised that instructors will refer cases of suspected cheating to the Dean of Student Services for possible disciplinary action. Cheating is a violation of academic integrity and Board Rule 9803.12. Penalties for cheating may include a grade of zero or “F” on an exam or paper, or even suspension from the College.