Fraudulent activity is common and pervasive. In 2017, consumers in the U.S. lost a total of $905 million due to fraud. But what exactly is fraud? Fraud is a term that covers a wide variety of criminal offenses. The sheer scope of fraudulence is so huge that it can be difficult to understand what exactly these crimes entail.
Fraud can be committed in overt and covert ways, both online and offline. Here are some of the most prevalent forms of fraud in America.
Credit or debit card fraud
There are many ways in which fraud can occur related to credit and debit cards. Some common examples include gaining access to a card number, making unauthorized purchases and creating fake cards.
Perpetrators of fraud often use skimming devices to steal information from cards. Others may steal details from people who make purchases with cards online.
Any fraudulent actions that involve postage mail counts as mail fraud, including the following:
- Sending a letter to try to steal personal information or money from the recipient
- Stealing mail that belongs to someone else
- Partaking in a chain letter scheme to collect money or assets
Basically, if the activity involves the mail at any point, it is mail fraud.
Common scams involving mortgages include rescue schemes, equity skimming and loan modification schemes.
Homeowners, mortgage specialists and real estate professionals alike can all commit mortgage fraud.
Anyone who uses illegal methods to get money or assets from a financial institution commits bank fraud. This may include forging checks, stealing checks or using fake information on a loan application.
Many people use phone communications to defraud people. Telemarketing fraud occurs when someone requests the person on the other line to send money to take advantage of a special offer that does not really exist. Another form of phone fraud happens when a fraudster poses as a law enforcement official and threatens an arrest if the person does not pay a fee.