Things to know about wire fraud

The crimes are increasing day by day in various parts of the world and many people are not aware of them properly. With internet technologies are growing over recent years, there are several individuals and companies use them wrongly to cheat the general public. This results in a loss of money which causes stress to people who have lost their money.

Fraudsters these days aim at targeting people who want to earn more income through a lottery and other things. Wire fraud is an act of using information technologies or telecommunication system for fraudulent activities. It involves using interstate wire communication to defraud or other things including properties under false promises.

Anyone who utilizes television, computer, radio, telephone and other systems for wire fraud activities has to face severe punishment. Wire fraud laws can change from one country to another country which involves severe punishment.

What exactly is wire fraud?

Wire fraud involves cheating the general public by providing false promises and making misrepresentations. The primary objective of this fraud is to make money with fraudulent intense in different forms.

Those who involve in wire fraud will brainwash people by using signs, signals, pictures, writing through media. Wire frauds are a severe one in Federal states of the USA and the punishments may vary depending on the crime.

There are many businesses and companies that suffered a lot from wire frauds due to online and mobile phone activities. Therefore, one should know how to get protection from them to ensure peace of mind.

What are the common types of wire fraud?

It is an important one to know the types of wire fraud in detail for ensuring more protection to a large extent. Some of them include:

1. Telemarketing

Telemarketing scams belong to the wire fraud category which involves making false promises to a person by saying that he/she won a lottery in large amounts. A fraudster will usually ask for the bank details and other things so that a person will receive the prize immediately.

2. Phishing

Phishing is a common type of wire fraud that takes place on the internet. It involves sending emails or text messages to a person by posing as a legitimate company. Most phishing acts involve asking the bank details of a person for transferring a certain amount of money.

3. Catfishing

Catfishing involves creating a fake account and saying that a person wants to transfer a huge amount of dollars in another country due to inflation, war, etc.

4. Vishing and Smishing

Thieves contact bank and credit card customers by saying that they need a PIN number for verification purposes. This will ultimately result in the loss of money when a customer provides the details.

5. Malware

Malware is a type of technique used for gaining access to the important details in a computer without the knowledge of a person.

6. Phishing

Phishing is a scam related to email and fraudsters will send a website to users by posing as a legitimate one. It will ask a person to submit all details including bank information.

What is email fraud?

Mail frauds are one of the common things that happen in every part of the world. They involve sending emails to subscribers by providing false promises. Some of them include lottery, security investments, and financial investments. A mail fraud usually happens when a person is sending some messages to mail recipients that involve fraudulent activities.

A common type of email fraud is a jackpot stating that a person won certain amounts as a prize. Email frauds that take place in a state come under the state jurisdiction laws. On the other hand, the federal government has the right to deal with a case over interstate matters.

What are the types of email frauds?

Email is one of the most preferred forms of communication because it gives ways to reach a subscriber as soon as possible. There are millions of messages sent through email for business and other purposes. On the other hand, criminals misuse email for fraudulent activities in order to earn money.

Some of the common types of email frauds include:

  • Email spoofing
  • Defamatory emails
  • Email bombing
  • Sending malicious codes through email
  • Defamatory emails

It is advisable not to open any suspected emails because they can cause viruses and other problems considerably. One should know how to open emails properly for overcoming unwanted problems.

What is racketeering?

Racketeering often refers to dishonest and fraudulent business dealings by making false promises to the general public. Some of them include real estate investments, gambling, drug dealing, bribery, and so on. It takes several forms and usually takes place through extortion or coercion.

In fact, it is a criminal activity that involves cheating activities out of money. For example, a hacker may block the access of a computer with malware and demand money for restoring the data.

Other examples of racketeering include kidnapping, fencing racket, and numbers racket. The penalty may vary depending on the nature of the crime. Anyone who found guilty of the crime can face 20 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. Criminal RICO is a law that defines 35 offenses as racketeering and the court will determine the sentence based on the type and other factors.

What is wire transfer embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a crime that occurs when an employee or person misuses assets or money for personal gains. It usually happens in the corporate and private sectors which results in losses. Wire embezzlement is the act of transferring funds online without the knowledge of concerned authorities in a company.

For example, a clerk in a store transfers money to his/her account although it is a property of a business. Another example is that a payroll clerk creates fake employee ids and a company will pay amounts for them.

What are the warning signs of wire fraud?

There are some ways to recognize the signs of a wire transfer fraud.

1. Someone who never met in person is asking for money which is the biggest crime. It usually happens in long-distance relationships and unknown persons will demand money for investment opportunities.

2. Online ads that come with great deals demanding immediate payments from customers to receive a product. But, the reality is that most products don’t exist after making payments through wire transfer.

3. Receiving an email from someone by saying that he/she is the representative of a certain bank and asking a person to provide some important details for security purposes.

4. Receiving an email from unknown people by stating that a subscriber has won a lottery or jackpot amounts.

5. There are some people who receive a phone call or mail claiming that the IRS wants to pay back the taxes immediately. Otherwise, they have to face legal issues including arrests. The reality is that the IRS won’t ask any payments by wire transfer.

6. Some companies say they will provide ways to earn easy money through stock investments and request people to transfer money online. At the same time, they will shut-down their operations after a few months.

Wire fraud- A growing threat in the US

Wire fraud is becoming a growing threat in various states across the US. FBI recently said that it is receiving more complaints from business companies every year. The internet crime compliant center (IC3) reported that it registered more cases in 2017 compared to 2016. It says that many businesses especially real estate companies lost nearly $ 2.9 billion between 2013 and 2018.

Here are some statistics that show how it increased over recent years.

1. Businesses with under 1000 employees faced security breach problems in 2017 that caused heavy losses

2. The real estate industry saw the second-most malware industry than any other industry in the second quarter of 2018

3. Mortgage fraud risks jumped from more than 12% at the end of the second quarter of 2018

4. 52.2% of home buyers are not aware of the wire fraud in real estate investments

5. Over 130 million wire transfers take place every year that is affecting the economy

6. 61 % of breaches are mainly related to finance

7. In 2017, 71% of cyber-attacks reported related to spear-phishing emails

8. Wire fraud caused $5 billion in losses to consumers since 2013

9. 70% of organizations say that security risks have been increased significantly

10. There was a 136% increase in scams in the form of financial fraud

What are the penalties for wire fraud?

18 US code section 1343 clearly defines what a wire fraud is and the penalties meant for the crime. It is a federal offense and those who accused of the crime will be sent to federal prison. Wire fraud can carry large penalties as well as fines. Those who involved in wire fraud have to face decades in prison as well as other consequences.

What is interstate and international wire fraud?

Interstate or international wire fraud must have taken place while charging a person in a federal court. When electronic transactions occur across a state line, they will be considered as international wire fraud. Most interstate wire frauds are international wire frauds because they also affect international commerce.

In most cases, a federal government can prosecute when any communication takes place through international wires. 18 USC section 10 clearly states that a court should include foreign commerce when wire transfers were made to other countries.

Fines and sentencing for wire frauds

Under 18 US code section 1343, a conviction for wire transfer can result in up to 20 years of prison. On the other hand, the severe charges can lead to 30 years of incarceration. Anyone who convicted of wire fraud can face a fine of up to $ 250,000.

An organization that is involved in a wire fraud could face a fine of up to $ 500,000. Wire fraud crimes that impact a financial institution can result in fine up to $ 1,000,000.

18 USC 1343 sentencing guidelines

There are many factors that determine the sentence for wire fraud. In the federal system, judges will use a complicated grid that has both a vertical scale and a horizontal scale. The vertical scale includes 1 to 42 levels that will determine the sentence based on the crime type and other aggravating factors.

Some of them include the objective, type of crime, and the losses incurred. The horizontal scale includes I to IV levels which will study and measure the criminal history of a defendant in detail.

What are things included in aggravating factors?

Aggravating factors play an important role in determining the level of wire fraud crimes to a larger extent. For instance, if the loss amount is more than $70,000, the sentencing may range between 15 and 21 months.

In the same way, the sentence may vary depending on the loss of the amount. In fact, it is one of the major factors which contribute more to influence sentencing guidelines. There are some other factors that decide the level and sentence.

They include marketing techniques used, amount of loss, the number of victims and their age, the intention of defendants, and the type of wire fraud. The judges will evaluate the background of defendants and other things before sentencing them. Furthermore, they determine the punishment after evaluating the type of crime and losses.

What are honesty service frauds?

Honest service fraud is a type of federal crime mentioned in mail and fraud statutes. Federal courts categorize honest services fraud into two main areas of public sectors. Individuals and employers who steal the data of employees come under honesty service fraud.

18 USC 1846 simply referred to as “honesty service fraud” is a simple type of email fraud that fails to protect the intangible rights held by members of the public. The two main types of honest service fraud include bribery and conflicts of interest.

The sentence for honest fraud services

Since honest fraud services come under email and wire fraud crime, the sentence may vary depending on various factors. In fact, it includes both fines and a prison sentence up to  a maximum of 20 years.

What is 18 USC 1849?

18 USC 1849 refers to healthcare fraud cases which include making a false representation to the government including private insurance companies. Those who use wired communication with the intent to deprive money, property, and other things come under 18 USC 1849 act.

A person convicted of wire fraud will be charged under a base offense level between 6-36 levels. On the other hand, the punishment for 18 USC 1849 may vary depending on the type and other factors.

Moreover, it is a broad and complex law that dictates how it gets applied. Federal agents use 18 USC 1849 for medical professionals and healthcare centers that involve in wire fraud activities.

What are some wire transfer scams?

It is necessary to know more about the details of wire transfer scams for preventing them well in advance.

Fake lotteries and sweepstakes

An email subscriber will get a message stating that he/ she won a check and big price. A person will be asked to make a wire transfer in order to cover the processing fees. Fake lotteries and jackpots are million-dollar scams that occur in the US.

Advance fee loans

There are some individuals and companies who process a loan application to banks. At the same time, they will ask to make wire payments in advance. Some even request customers to send their bank details and rob money without their knowledge. After making a wire transfer, the lender will disappear soon that becomes very difficult to retrieve the amounts.

Fake sellers

Many sellers will post bogus advertisements for cars and other things asking customers to make payments in advance. However, they will disappear soon after making the wire transfer.

Nigerian scams

Nigerian scams involve someone seeking help to a person in a country through email. A scammer will usually say that he/she is having a large amount of money and want to transfer the same to a person who lives in other countries.

The message will start a story saying that the money got trapped in a bank due to civil wars, inflation, and other problem. Most scammers will offer a large sum of money when a person transfers the amount to his/her bank account.

How to prevent wire transfers?

Here are some tips meant for preventing wire transfers in advance.

  • Installing a strong email filter is one of the best ways to prevent phishing emails and other problems
  • Having a real-time monitoring system in a company will ultimately help to prevent employees from accessing malicious sites
  • It is advisable not to provide important details such as credit card no, social insurance number, and insurance number to unauthorized persons online
  • There are several tools available in the markets today that can help prevent a hacker to steal important details and one choose the right one among them after making complete research
  • Email users should always create strong passwords that are not accessible by others easily
  • It is a wise one not to make any wire payments when a person receives a message that he/she won a lottery prize
  • Several videos that educate about the scams in detail and one can watch them get more ideas

Featured wire fraud videos

By John Young & William Smithson

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