Fraud Cases and White Collar Criminals

fraud-casesIn the U.S. criminal justice system, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them – usually, to obtain property or services unjustly.  Lying is only one element of fraudulent behavior.  There must also be an intentional misrepresentation of the product’s condition and actual monetary damages must occur.

Fraud is not easily proven in a court of law, but defending fraud cases can still be complex. Laws regarding fraud may vary from state to state, but numerous conditions must first be met.  Did the seller know beforehand that the product was defective or the investment was worthless.  Some workers in a large business may sell a product or offer a service while having no personal knowledge of a deception.  For example, an account representative who sells a fraudulent insurance policy on behalf of their unscrupulous employer may not have known the policy was bogus at the time of sale.

The FBI has been warning the public about an ongoing scheme involving jury service.  Individuals identifying themselves as U.S. Court employees have been contacting citizens by phone and advising them that they have been selected for jury duty.  These individuals ask citizens to verify names and social security numbers, and then they ask the potential jurors for their credit card numbers.  Citizens are then threatened with fines if the request is improved.

It is very difficult to get your money back if you have been cheated over the phone.  Before you purchase anything by telephone, there are somethings you can remember to prevent yourself from becoming their next victim.

  • Do not buy from an unfamiliar company.  Legitimate businesses understand that you will want more information, and they should be happy to comply.
  • While not everything that is written down is factual, one should always ask for and wait until you receive written material about a charity or any other offer.
  • If you get brochures about costly investments, take them to someone whose financial advice you can trust.
  • Always investigate unfamiliar companies by contacting your local consumer protection agency, the Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups.  While not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations, the vast majority will be weeded out correctly.
  • Before you give any money to a charity or investment opportunity, check to see what percentage actually goes to them, and how much of the money is used to pay commissions or overhead expenses.
  • What guarantee do you really have that the solicitor will use the money in the manner that is agreed upon?
  • Only pay for services once they have been delivered or are completed, never beforehand.
  • Finally, always take your time before making any financial decision.

There are some warning signs that you can look out for during your telephone conversation.  If you hear any of the following, say “No thank you” and hang up.

  • “You must act now or the offer won’t be good any longer”
  • “You have won a free gift or prize”, but you have to pay shipping and handling or other charges
  • “You don’t need any written information about their company or their references.”  Any legitimate company will gladly provide you with this information.

Impersonation or identity fraud cases occur when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act.  Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity from a variety of sources, such as the theft of your wallet bank or credit information, or even your trash.  They may approach you in person, by telephone, or on the Internet and ask you for the information.

Never throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a usable form, and never give your credit card number over the phone unless you are the one making the call.  Reconcile your bank statement monthly, and notify your bank immediately of any discrepancies.  Finally, report any unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company, or even the police as soon as you detect them. It may seem too late, but you could be defending yourself against further fraud.

Other fraudulent activities to look for include advance fee schemes and medical or hospital fraud.  Make yourself more informed, and follow the aforementioned advice to help prevent becoming a victim of one of the consumer fraud cases.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark