Overview of mail fraud and common scams

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | blog, Fraud

Financial fraud in New York occurs when a scammer intentionally takes money or assets from another person using deception. Technology enables scammers to commit financial fraud easily and put new spins on old scams. While email scams have increased, some scammers may use standard mail to deceive unsuspecting people.

Overview of mail fraud

Mail fraud is a type of financial fraud involving the U.S. mail service or any commercial carrier for a crime regardless of the origin. Common hallmarks of this crime include:

  • Concocting or intending to devise a scheme using the U.S. mail
  • Intentional omissions and misstatements, which cause someone a loss of money

Mail fraud occurring in one state falls under state laws, and financial fraud between state lines commonly gets handled by the federal government. The Commercial Clause in the Constitution gives Congress power to govern interstate commerce and foreign commerce.

Types of mail fraud

A common type of mail fraud is fake prize scams that claim that the receiver won something, though he or she never entered the contest. The notice commonly uses a fake company name and requires the receiver to provide banking information to pay a fee, which is a red flag.

Telemarketing fraud commonly offers the victim an “incredible, one-time” deal, often using postcards. The postcard asks them to call a 900 number or toll-free number before the offer expires. The scammer tries to pressure a person with hyped sales tactics, so he or she gives financial information.

Most telemarketing scams involve advanced fee scams in which the victim pays but never receives the merchandise. Sometimes, the scammer promises the victims he or she can fix their bad credit with zero or very low interest or no credit check loans. Other mail fraud scams include fake charities, job offers or inheritance notices requesting personal data.

While a person could unintentionally commit mail fraud, most courts do not excuse crimes based on ignorance of the law. It helps to know the types of mail fraud to avoid getting involved in these crimes.