What Is Fraud?
Fraud occurs when someone purposely deceives another for financial or personal gain. Often, many fraud types are also considered to be scams. If someone is convicted of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt by law enforcement, they may face probation, jail time, or fines.
Types of Fraud
- Financial Fraud
Financial fraud occurs when a person deceives or misleads another resulting in their financial health being impacted. Different types of financial fraud include debit and credit card fraud, bank account fraud, investment fraud, tax fraud, social security number fraud, and more. For example, embezzlement is considered an act of fraud.
- Identity Theft
Identity theft doesn’t fall into just one category of fraud. Identity theft occurs when a person assumes or uses the identity of another to obtain the personal information of someone else, rob them of their finances, or apply for insurance plans. Learn more about how to keep your personal information safe online from identity thieves.
- Internet Fraud
Internet fraud happens when someone uses the internet to commit fraud against another. Common methods fraudsters use to do this including phishing, fake websites and apps, data breaches, hacking, spoofing, online scams, malware, and more.
- Elder Fraud
The elderly are the most targeted demographic for scams and fraud schemes. This is because as most people grow older, their minds deteriorate resulting in the loss of memory and proper decision-making skills. Fraudsters know this and use this to their advantage. They often use persuasive techniques to get their victims to do what they want, such as by saying they are a certain relative. The typical scam types that the elderly are targeted with include winning the lottery, and health care plans and services.
- Mail Fraud
Just like with email, many criminals look to commit fraud by sending recipients mail. The mail sent usually contains fraudulent letters from major companies people know about. The victim thinks the letter is real and provides their information and/or sends the payment as requested. Mail fraud can also occur when another person steals a person’s mail and uses it for their personal gain.
- Voter Fraud
Voter fraud occurs when the voting process (local, state, or national) is tampered with in some way. This includes someone altering voting machines, miscounting votes on purpose, buying votes, and voting more than once.
How To Report Fraud
To help fight fraud, you must report it as soon as possible. If it’s a local fraud scheme, contact your local authorities.
- Federal Trade Commission:
- Report identity theft and fraud by visiting here or calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.
- Call (202) 324-3000 or submit a tip at https://tips.fbi.gov/.
- Department of Health and Human Services (For Medical Related Fraud)
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (For Securities Fraud)
View our other Glossary Terms here.
*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.