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Common Types of Fraud to Be Aware Of.

Gutin & Wolverton March 4, 2020

Fraud is a very common crime here in the United States and across the globe.
It is one of those crimes that can easily ruin your life. Fraud is defined as wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. People who commit these types of crimes are becoming more specialized and making life more difficult for everyone else. There are many types of fraud and some of the more prevalent ones include credit card fraud, identity theft, elder fraud, and mail fraud.

By the end of this blog, you will be much more well informed on the most common types of fraud and know how to avoid them. You may even recognize some of these on our list already as they may have happened to you or someone you know.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the most common types of fraud in America and it happens millions of times per year to U.S. citizens and isn’t showing many signs of slowing down. It happens when someone gains unauthorized access to your personal identifying information. This could be a Social Security Number (SSN), credit card details, or bank account number.

Anyone who gains access to this sensitive information can do a lot of financial harm to you and potentially more. A person who has your personal information can apply for credit cards, take out loans in your name or even take over your entire identity if they have enough of your information. With the prolific use of the internet in our everyday lives, the task of stealing someone’s identity has become much easier for thieves. If this happens to you, make sure to call your bank and have your card numbers changed immediately.

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is committed when someone engages in a scheme to defraud someone through mail or electronic transmission. It usually involves some sort of scam or deceit such as sending out fraudulent documents in order to get sensitive information. Some of the more common types of mail fraud include financial fraud and fraud against elderly Americans.

Financial fraud can include scams such as loan schemes that charge an “advance fee” or a charity donation fraud that pretends to be a charity.

Fraud against older Americans is extremely common. They are often a target due to their lack of knowledge of modern technology and how legitimate companies operate. An example of financial fraud would be an elderly person receiving an official-looking document in the mail that states the person is entitled to a refund. They would then call the number and be prompted to give out their bank information in order to get their payment deposited.

The best way to protect yourself from any type of mail fraud is to make sure the letter is legitimate first before attempting to follow up. Also, take any mail that contains your personal information directly to the post office to mail out instead of leaving in your mailbox.

Internet Fraud

This type of fraud is exactly as it sounds. It’s when a person uses the internet as a way to defraud someone. This could be in the form of password theft, data breaches, phishing, and malware. These methods continue to evolve as hackers find new and creative ways to fraud you out of your money. Internet fraud could be in the form of sending you emails with malicious links to get your password or directing you to a website to get your credit card number. It’s always best to be skeptical and on guard when you’re opening up links in your email that are requesting your sensitive information. Good anti-virus software will help keep you protected from viruses and malware along with paying close attention to the original (senders) email address.

If you wish to report such a crime of internet fraud you can do that with the Internet Crimes Complaints Center or the IC3 for short.

Other forms of the internet or digital fraud usually start with email scams trying to get critical login or password information from those targeted. Since emails are so easy to send out, the true identity of the sender/s are so easily masked or hidden combined with the un-likelihood of an agency’s ability to track, track down and prosecute the perpetrator, email scams are and will always be a great threat to be aware of.

While researching this article we got some feedback from Dave Saitta, who runs a digital marketing agency.

“When looking at incoming emails don’t focus on the first section of the email (before the @ sign), focus on what we call “the root domain name” that always precedes the extension (.com, .net, .edu, etc.).

This root domain name might be completely different from your bank, your credit card companies and or others. By starting your review or investigation at the “sender’s root domain name” (what is after the @ sign) you can immediately see if that email really came from the real “Amazon” or “Bank of America.”

Here are a few self-defined examples: or .
Look for this middle section of your Sender’s email address to immediately tell if your email is legit or not.

The same observation technique can be used for opening website links that you don’t know are from real companies vs. scammers. This is done by looking at the link you are presented, either written in the email body or even by hovering over said link (without clicking on it) with your cursor/mouse to see where this link will take you. Many computer settings allow you to see this “where” in the lower left-hand corner of your screen. By seeing a real company “root domain name” you can feel more confident that this is a real link vs. some crazy character/s and also unidentified domain name that you can simply ignore and remove from your inbox or not click on. I hope this helps.”

Voter Fraud

Voter fraud as defined by Wikipedia, is the illegal interference of the process of an election Things such as voting twice or using a false identity to vote would be included here. This term became a lot more famous during the 2016 presidential election.

Credit and Debit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud as defined by our F.B.I is the fraudulent use of someone else’s card to obtain money or property. This can happen if someone gets ahold of your card physically or steals the information online. If you notice any unauthorized charges on your credit card statement you should call your credit card company and your bank (if different) immediately.
Your card company should close your card and issue you a new one right away. You are also at a higher risk of fraud if you use an ATM machine anywhere other than your bank.

Ponzi Scheme

A type of investment fraud that usually promises high returns with little to no risk is called a ponzi scheme. The people behind these schemes typically do not invest the money. Instead, they might keep it for themselves and possibly pay back those who invested first. Since the entire scheme is not legitimate, it requires constant cash flow to keep running. This is why they must keep recruiting new investors to make up for the ones who “cash out.” It is okay to be highly suspicious of any investment opportunity that involves guaranteed earnings or overly consistent returns. The age-old logic “if it sounds too good to be true..” applies here.

Pyramid Scheme

One of the most popular types of frauds in the world because so many people have lost money with it, so much time and energy goes into it combined with the fact mostly this happens in-person almost many others simultaneously is the pyramid scheme.

This type of scheme starts with a flawed business model of recruiting where most if not all the true income or revenue comes from. This scheme is tied to Multi-level marketing in that the promoters go to great lengths to make the business appear legitimate even though it does not sell genuine goods or services. The emphasis of this business model is in recruiting others to join for a fee. This model provides steady cash flow to early investors until there are no longer enough recruits and the pyramid collapses. If any type of “business opportunity” offers passive income or easy money in a short period of time that is heavily focused in or around “recruiting others under you” you should be very skeptical.


As you can see, fraud isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s only getting more and more prevalent as these schemers find new ways to take your money. You should now have a better understanding of some of the more common types of fraud and what to watch out for. It is important to be on the lookout for any type of fraudulent activity so you can protect yourself and others.

The Law Office of Gutin & Wolverton works in the areas of defending those accused of Fraud .

We are writing this article to help you be more aware of what is going on in and around this topic.

Please note that we do not work in the public sector pursuing Acts or Damages from fraud.

For any legal support or advice on or about Fraud Defense please contact us accordingly.

This article was written by a third party for informational purposes only.
This article does not constitute any legal advice in any way, shape or form.