Wire fraud is defined as attempting to defraud using electronic means, such as a computer or telephone. What must be proved is that the person knowingly and willfully devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud. Since the advent of the internet, there are literally thousands of crimes that fall under the definition of wire fraud. Here we’re going to take a look at some of the more common forms of wire fraud, why they occur, and how you can protect yourself.
Wire Fraud In Banking
While security measures have certainly increased over the years, banks still fall victim to wire fraud, costing them millions of dollars or more every year. Since banks are constantly wiring extremely large sums of money back and forth between accounts, it may take them awhile to notice when a large sum of money goes missing. This type of fraud is usually perpetrated by insiders who forge documents a wire money to foreign accounts. Other common ways this can occur is via the internet, through fraudulent activity such as stolen identities, stolen credit card numbers, and hacked internet banking accounts.
Wire Fraud On The Internet
The internet is a haven for con artists. A great example of wire fraud on the internet is commonly known as the “Nigerian”, or the “419 scam”. There are many other forms of wire fraud that may occur on the internet. A few common ones are:
- Email Phishing: The practice of sending out fake emails that look legitimate, in order to steal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal information.
- Identity Theft: Usually perpetrated by people who set up legitimate looking websites designed to trick users into submitting personal information, similar to a loan or insurance application.. Other methods may include hacking databases containing business information, or accessing a personal hard drive illegally to steal personal information.
- Fraudulent Business Sales: This is a common scam targeting webmasters and potential investors. When valuing an internet business, revenue, traffic, and the future potential value of the website are used to estimate the value. By faking revenue and traffic proof, a con artist can inflate perceived value of the website, sometimes scamming victims out of thousands of dollars.
Wire Fraud On The Phone
Wire fraud commonly occurs over the telephone as well. A con artist will call your house, and try to talk you out of personal information. Common scams involve criminals posing as salesmen, loan officers, and other business professionals in order to collect personal information such as credit card numbers or social security numbers.
Wire fraud is a very real threat in the world today. By using a little bit of common sense, you can avoid becoming a victim yourself. Don’t give out personal information over the telephone to unsolicited callers without doing an extensive check on their background. Be careful what kind of websites you use to conduct financial transactions. There are many legitimate websites where doing credit card transactions, or even loan applications is extremely secure. Be wary of any unknown websites. Bottom line, don’t give out your personal information to strangers. With just a little bit of common sense you can avoid becoming a victim of wire fraud yourself.